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Blurred lines

It's not only Robin Thicke who's blurring lines. Increasingly, (smart) brands are finding ways to integrate their campaigns and in turn, to discover new ways to engage consumers.

We've known for a while that the world is becoming more and more connected. Technology has allowed us to chat via Skype to friends and family anywhere in the world, Facebook means we can see pictures of what our chosen network is up to, Pintrest enables us to collectively lust after that designer kitchen and of course the internet means that you can access pretty much any information that you want, on anything.

(Image: Ed and Eddie from Palo Alto, USA, via Wikimedia Commons)
(Image: Ed and Eddie from Palo Alto, USA, via Wikimedia Commons)

What is even more exciting though is that now brands are using technology and content to talk to and engage consumers in interesting ways. I saw a post on Twitter this morning that asked me to download an app (Junaio - an augmented reality app) and then to use it to scan in the Ponds Gold Radiance Day Crème image (in a magazine advert) to reveal hidden content. I duly followed the instructions to reveal a short video with David Tlale talking about the product.

A new and exciting way to market brands

This sort of technology is of course not new - and the technically-au fait out there have probably seen this all before. But the fact that we've moved from just a static advert in print to a twitter post with a call to action, to hidden content scanned by a cellphone app is certainly a new and exciting way to market brands.

The Coca-Cola Company, a leader in innovation and marketing, is also looking at how to engage consumers in new and exciting ways. A campaign in Australia allowed consumers to customise their drink by replacing the word "Coke" with their name. In Japan it partnered with Sony to allow consumers to download free songs linked to their year of birth.

Similarly Apple - another great innovator - announced recently that it has appointed Angela Ahrendts, currently the CEO of Burberry, as SVP of its retail and online stores. Ahrendts will presumably follow in the footsteps of Steve Jobs who helped to pioneer the concept of making technology as beautiful as it is functional. (Think the beauty of Apple products from the look and feel of the packaging to the devices themselves.)

The point is that shopping is no longer just about retail. It's about fashion, it's about reaching online consumers and it's about finding new ways to connect. Similarly, print ads are no longer static. They're digital, a video experience and new way to deliver interactive content. Exciting times ahead indeed.

For more about Hill+Knowlton Strategies go to

About Jennifer Leppington-Clark

Jennifer Leppington-Clark is the managing director at Hill+Knowlton Strategies South Africa.

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