Brands are reaching you through your friends. Seriously!

OK! Right now you may be thinking that this is just one more of those articles where the author writes a lot of stuff based only in his opinions. Well, you’re very right. However, if I were you, I’d take some minutes of your precious day to question some things with me (feel free to comment). Let’s start with a question: how many Unicorn Frappuccinos have you seen in your timeline during the 7-days special season of Starbucks?

Let’s start with a question: how many Unicorn Frappuccinos have you seen in your timeline during the 7-days special season of Starbucks?

You probably won’t remember the exact number of pictures, memes and posts but unicorns, frappuccinos and specially Starbucks got stuck in your mind during an entire week. It was the main theme of conversations in your office, your kids were imploring you to buy them some, baristas were complaining, the lines in your regular shop were much longer and yes, everything had to be reported on social media.

A barista said that a single Starbucks shop sold 508 Unicorn Frappuccinos in one day.

That wasn’t the first time I thought about how big brands are changing their digital strategy, allocating their resources into “instagrammable” things and experiences, instead of spending their budgets in ads that people will ignore. Yes, don’t play the fool here! We know exactly what we do when an ad interrupts us during our digital procrastination.

That time when Facebook was more organic, when timelines were more like TIMElines and you used to interact with the few brands disturbing you.

Heineken was the first brand that caught my attention. I know, talking about a brand that has a very marketing driven attitude and has a very strong personality is easy. However, I remember a time, some years ago, when they used to do A LOT of digital initiatives and ideas. That time when Facebook was more organic, when timelines were more like TIMElines and you used to interact with the few brands disturbing you. Take a look at the Heineken facebook page and count their last digital iniatives. Well, spoiler alert, there aren’t many of them out there.

The Art of Heineken in São Paulo — 2017

The Art of Heineken was an installation that combined pieces of art about the history of the company with live gigs, a nice rooftop and a lot of beer. Visitors were welcomed to interact with all the pieces, see their favorite international music artists playing live and, of course, fill their social media accounts with amazing pictures, stories, check-ins and videos. For weeks, my Facebook and Instagram feeds were flooded by those posts and Heineken was definitely getting a very premium part of my digital attention.

It won’t be any surprise if in the next weeks, Doritos become the protagonist of my timelines, using my friends as the ones spreading the messages about the brand.

Today I saw that Doritos is opening a Mystery Shop in São Paulo, inside a very cool place, promissing live gigs and lots of surprises. It won’t be any surprise if in the next weeks, Doritos become the protagonist of my timelines, using my friends as the ones spreading the message about the brand and its products. Can you see how crazy is that? They are getting into the digital platforms without having to place an ad or creating a campaing begging for user generated content. Now, time to reflect on how many times you’ve seen something like this but are still telling your clients that the best way to reach people is only buying programmatic ads.

The Doritos Mystery Shop in São Paulo

Before you start discussing with yourself that there are many other forms to do advertising in the digital world, calm down! I totally agree with you! Heineken is still doing amazing ads, using influencers, sponsoring relevant content for its target, creating promotions and doing those Heineken-style digital videos. But listen my fellow advertising and marketing colleagues, there’s something changing in the way people consume the stuff we produce and some very clever brands already understood it. Sometimes, relying on media plans is easier for us cause they make our job more tanglible. Now come on, let’s embrace the new and start doing things that matter, not to brands, agencies or mediums but for our customers (that was a beautiful sentence).

Now come on, let’s embrace the new and start doing things that matter, not to brands, agencies or mediums but for our customers.

Edited: the last sentence was so cool that I highlighted it to give a decent closure to my text.