"Now more than ever, brands need to prove to people that they don't exist in a marketing bubble. For a brand to have a voice and even an opinion on what is happening in the news or popular culture - it proves that the brand lives in the same world that people do - the real world. The objective should be for a brand to show that they have heard what's going on around them and respond," says Jonathan Deeb - executive creative director for Euro RSCG, a division of the Havas Group.
Advertising is becoming the art of being responsive, of seeing the world and finding those parts of it that are immediately relevant. Engaging audiences means being topical, discussing what they're discussing as one of their 'social' connections, brands need to have an opinion and character.
The Durex print advert by Euro RSCG for FMCG giant Reckitt Benckiser playing on 'The Spear' debacle is just such an example - rapid response and dissemination of an idea that is ubiquitous at that moment, bringing with it a flurry of responses and almost exponential exposure through social dissemination.
The time line of the response ad by Euro RSCG is one that advertising should strive to achieve in order to be relevant to breaking news issues in society:
- Tuesday, 22 May 11:00 Painting defaced
- Tuesday, 22 May 11:43 TV news broke the story
- Tuesday, 22 May 12:30 Headlines reviewed by agency
- Tuesday, 22 May 13:00 Concept approval
- Tuesday, 22 May 13:30 Draft typeset reviewed
- Tuesday, 22 May 14:30 Final typeset reviewed (including revisions)
- Tuesday, 22 May 15:46 Sent high res to client
- Tuesday, 22 May 17:00 Internal client approval
- Tuesday, 22 May 17:01 Upload to web
- Tuesday, 22 May 17:01 Online conversations began
"This is what audiences enjoy. In the age of content advertising versus sales pitch, this where your brand is noticed and remembered for its ingenuity and rapid response to current situations. Without clients who encourage fresh thinking and a nimble approach these kind of opportunities can't be maximised" says Deeb.
"Gone are the days of people paying attention to brands who stand on soap boxes and broadcast their story from a loudhailer. People want to have two way conversations - about news, people and brands, anything really - but only if the content proves worthy of their attention."
Those thinking that its not the place for brands to play in will quickly see the results. People have access to an endless supply of content, they want something new, something entertaining and something that grabs them. Boring advertising will no longer find a place in the minds of the consumer. Anything that is clutter breaking has the tendency to be controversial, it's part of the digital modern landscape."
"Everyone's entitled to their opinion. That's the point! As far as I'm concerned, it's witty whilst being relevant to Durex's product offering and the painting news saga. The biggest challenge in being tactical is of course to respond really, really quickly!" concludes Deeb.