Turning 60 Seconds of Advertising into 75 Years of Engagement. What Brands are Missing from Their Integrated Storytelling.

This photo, “Facebook- Helping Your Online Advertising Campaign copy” is copyright ©2015 Joe The Goat Farmer and made available under Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license

One of my favorite commercials currently running is the one Jeep released during the Super Bowl. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a glimpse into their 75-year history and the impact their vehicles have on the lives of the people that love this iconic brand. At the end they flash the message, “We don’t make Jeep. You Do.” Perfection. Maybe I have a soft spot in my heart because I’ve owned a Jeep or maybe I’m nostalgic. Hell, maybe I’m just sentimental. It doesn’t matter, those 60 seconds connected with me personally and I could have consumed much more… if there was more.

Jeep is a brand built on memories and stories — of legendary moments. Connecting the impossible and improbable with the unimaginable. It’s a brand that’s helped make dreams come true and connects a community of enthusiasts like few others. If you drive a Jeep, you’re part of the club. If you’ve ever owned one, it’s likely you have your own amazing stories too. And although they tipped their hat to everyone that “makes Jeep” what it is, they failed to truly take advantage of the opportunity they had at their fingertips to capture an audience from 60 seconds of entertainment to another 75 years of engagement. They have the audience, they have the content and at this point, they had my attention. But they failed to capitalize on the attention I would have been very willing to handover had they given me more. There’s no arguing that those might be the most compelling and effective 60 seconds on television right now, but those 60 seconds could have led to something so much bigger.

Digital give brands an opportunity to own their own content and build the engagement their fans are more likely to connect with. And I don’t mean just sharing the same television spot on every channel, but to use each platform natively to maximize the strengths each one provides as customers connect with them. Each channel should lead the audience to the next one for another level of engagement — not the same engagement. The edited television commercial and offline assets establish the context for the entire experience and directs people to your website for the story in its entirety. Social media connects the emotional and human aspects, with Facebook connecting the person-to-person story, YouTube offering additional video snippets, behind the scenes and extended commentary. Twitter becomes the voice and the heartbeat that runs in the background connecting each channel and offering the details that connects each message, dialog and platform together as one.

Jeep could have easily directed their audience online to engage with a much more immersive experience had they turned the stories on their website into videos, allowing for more detail and providing the tone to evoke the emotions they were attempting to achieve. Mini’s Defy Labels campaign is a great example of this. The videos are emotionally charged and provide a tone that humanizes the experience. It creates an instant connection between the viewer, the brand and the message, becoming more than advertising, but a movement you want to join. The result, binge watching their entire playlist of videos and having a new appreciation for the Mini Cooper (at least that’s what I did). Your website gives you that opportunity to own your content, not just rent space to show it off. Whether you use a unique URL for a microsite or landing page, or host it within your main dotcom, it’s important to make sure you provide a way for people to have easy, direct access to your brand’s message and content. The We Are Jordan site is another great example that elevates the experience, providing a feeling of empathy for the iconic sneaker brand. Sure, you can pass along a story through text and images, but the loss of tone makes it difficult to truly feel someone else’s passion. If you have a story to tell, make it a compelling one.

Progressive’s Flo might be one of the most recognizable characters in advertising right now, and potentially one of the most entertaining (depending on who you talk to). And she just happens to haveher own Facebook page. Obviously it’s a tool for Progressive to advertise insurance, but it takes on the personality, quirks and playfulness she brings to the brand to let customers interact with the person and not necessarily the company. Take a look at the content as well as the comments and you can definitely see a completely different conversation, voice and tone between the two accounts. Facebook is a very effective way to expand the role of your characters, spokespeople or ambassadors. Think how you connect with your friends and family, and the kinds of discussions that keep you coming back to your news feed. Develop similar content that creates that kind of dialog, and supports the bigger story and the overall campaign. Facebook is a platform that connects people, not necessarily brands. Flo’s page is a great example of that. Fans have rewarded her with over 5 million page likes and a significantly higher comment, like and share rate vs. Progressive’s brand page, which currently sits at just over 350,000 page likes and significantly less engagement. And the tone from each of the audiences is much different, along with the conversations being had.

Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like campaign in which Isaiah Mustafa (the Old Spice Guy) answered people’s questions, tweets, etc. is still one of the best examples of how a brand can extend their 30 seconds and create real engagement with fans. With almost 200 unique responses, Old Spice was not only able to directly and indirectly engage their audience, they also created some highly entertaining content. It would be financially and logistically close to impossible to pull this together using traditional television; however, YouTube was the perfect platform to bring this to life. The initial spots provided the context, and Old Spice was then able to manage the conversation online. The videos received between a couple hundred thousand hits, to over a million hits each, and in the process resurrected a struggling brand, which was able to reestablish a dominant presence and ultimately create a ton of new fans and motivated customers.

You might be incorporating all of your marketing channels in your campaigns, but don’t confuse incorporating with integrating. In fact, the definition of integrate is to “combine (one thing) with another so they become a whole”. So when we integrate our marketing, we’re combining multiple parts of a campaign to tell a much more dynamic story. Not the same story using all the same elements, but bringing them all together to support and tell THE story. Jeep was right when saying, “We don’t make Jeep. You Do.” And that applies to most brands, iconic or not. Your audience, fans, customers and loyalists make your brand what it is and digital is the conduit that allows you to create those layers within the story. Help your fans make your brand.