The 24/7 ad agency

We need ‘rapid-re­sponse’ ad­ver­tis­ing, ‘be­cause the early bird gets the worm’, says Fadi Mroue

Campaign Middle East - - CAMPAIGN -

Blessed were the days when cam­paigns were planned six months in ad­vance. That gave the agency a month to write a brief, two months to come up with cre­ative, a month for test­ing, and the rest for craft­ing and roll-out.

Now try that in five min­utes. That’s how long it took for, ar­guably the best cam­paign of 2013 to be writ­ten, pro­duced, ap­proved and rolled out.

You don’t have to be in ad­ver­tis­ing to know what the Su­per­bowl is to ad­ver­tis­ing; with mil­lions watch­ing, the an­nual sports event be­comes the ul­ti­mate op­por­tu­nity for brands to flex their mus­cles and show their cre­ative and fi­nan­cial might. Just 30 seconds of air­time comes with a mil­lion dol­lar price tag and pro­duc­ing the spot costs mil­lions more – and of course all this, months in ad­vance.

So how can a tweet by Oreo, that cost prac­ti­cally noth­ing to pro­duce, steal the Su­per­bowl – beat­ing out all the hard work, re­search, and sleep­less nights put in by the agen­cies and brands? The an­swer to this is quite sim­ple – ‘Rapid-Re­sponse’.

When a brand reaches out to its au­di­ence, strik­ing at the ex­act mo­ment that their in­ter­est is peaked, it can jump in on a con­ver­sa­tion that can help carry the brand fur­ther than any tra­di­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Pic­ture your news­feed, min­utes after a big story breaks – it quickly fills with jokes, com­men­tary, RIPs, memes and all other types of ma­te­rial cre­ated by peo­ple to ex­press their thoughts on the mat­ter. Now, if a brand could get it­self into that mix, not only would it find it­self as part of the gen­eral con­ver­sa­tion, but if the con­tent is good enough, it has the po­ten­tial to su­per­sede the topic and be­come the talk­ing point it­self.

But tim­ing is cru­cial. Con­tent doesn’t wait for 9 am to roll around as the team starts fil­ter­ing into the of­fice. No brand wants to be that guy tweet­ing ‘ RIP Robin Wil­liams’ three days after the fact. By then the so­cial stratosphere is sick of hear­ing about it and its at­ten­tion has been turned else­where. At that point, you’ll no­tice the RIPs have quickly been re­placed with the fa­mous Bat­man slap­ping Robin meme – putting the story to bed once and for all.

And it’s not just about time. It’s also about know­ing your brand. Some­times, it can be all too tempt­ing to jump on an op­por­tu­nity that might seem like the per­fect way to get peo­ple talk­ing about a brand. But just like your grand­mother telling a dirty joke, it can make peo­ple feel un­com­fort­able. The brand per­son­al­ity, how it has com­mu­ni­cated in the past, what you see for its fu­ture and how peo­ple per­ceive it, can all play a vi­tal role in how well, or badly, your ad/video/tweet/ post is per­ceived.

Rapid-re­sponse is key for a brand’s dig­i­tal suc­cess but it is not at all limited to so­cial me­dia. As you drive down the high­way, more and more out­door signs have mor­phed into screens, most of which are con­nected. This opens the doors to be able to adapt your ad­ver­tis­ing to what’s hap­pen­ing around you at the mo­ment, whether it’s the weather, cur­rent events or just traf­fic. I per­son­ally get sick of see­ing the same visual day in, day out on my way to work – plus, the power and mem­o­ra­bil­ity of the mes­sage gets di­luted after see­ing it the first time. Dig­i­tal out­door signs are a great medium for quick think­ing. Most re­cently, for their launch in France, Net­flix cre­ated their en­tire cam­paign us­ing con­nected sub­way screens that adapted to cur­rent events. The screens would rec­om­mend movies based on the weather or news. When France got elim­i­nated from the World Cup, for ex­am­ple, the screen rec­om­mended a movie that would make peo­ple feel bet­ter, and the same goes for a rainy day or week­end. Such a strat­egy never be­comes old and view­ers look for­ward to what witty mes­sage th­ese screens will be dis­play­ing next. Ad­di­tion­ally the po­ten­tial of word of mouth is huge in this case. How can an agency adapt? The days of cre­atives spend­ing weeks brain­storm­ing on a cam­paign over MaiTais and sushi are long gone and so is the tra­di­tional agency. Nine to five (or nine to late) is dead and with it the no­tion that all work has to be done at a desk, at the of­fice. With the whole world con­stantly con­nected, your brand can’t be asleep. To­day’s times call for a 24/7 agency, a cre­ative/plan­ning team that is con­stantly aware of cur­rent events, whether it’s Kim Kar­dashian try­ing to break the in­ter­net or an epic bite by Luiz Suarez. Brands need to be there as soon as a topic trends and ben­e­fit from the en­su­ing gen­er­ated buzz. Oreo ben­e­fited from 10,000 retweets in the first hour and 525,000,000 im­pres­sions. This kind of im­pact is worth mil­lions in tra­di­tional me­dia cost; not be­cause it was the great­est ad ev­ery made, or the best crafted, but be­cause it was the first to ad­dress a topic that had be­come one of the lead­ing news sto­ries of the evening. As the say­ing goes, the early bird gets the worm and if your brand is asleep – well there are plenty of birds in the sky. Fadi Mroue is man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at République Beirut

Mroue... ‘Days of cre­atives brain­storm­ing over MaiTais and sushis are long gone’

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