This was a two-part session that discussed how to keep from making common mistakes as new platforms emerge. The goal of marketing has not changed, so don't confuse new technology with new marketing. There are, of course, new opportunities with devices like mobile phones and the iPad, but remember that advertising is about the message and the experience, not the technology.
Resizing creative assets for new devices won’t cut it. In other words, simply repurposing content for use on a new device is not acceptable. Each new interface and device requires rethinking how to tell the story, and storytelling changes based on the delivery method. With new ad platforms, non-linear, social visual, collaborative, and serialized storytelling is showing up more frequently, and users are actively consuming it. Brand storytelling is borrowing heavily from the narrative structure of gaming.
Best practices for advertising on the iPad:
This is a new medium that requires a new experience. Many features are unique to the iPad. Conde Nast found that it is better for all content to exist in the app iPad app itself rather than linking or pulling content from elsewhere. Don’t make users guess about what to do. Instead, have intuitive controls or have clear instructions. Never embed a URL unless it’s clickable. Create new content for the device, don’t just repurpose other content. Tell a story with a narrative of some kind. These narrative-style ads have been the most successful ads for Conde Nast so far. Lead users through the conversion funnel. For example, if there is a purse for sale that is featured in an ad, give users the options to buy it, and don’t just send to the homepage. Take them exactly where they need to go to buy it.
The Anxiety of consumption:
The ultimate goal is to separate choice from consumption because it lessens anxiety. The DVD mailing version of Netflix is a good example because the user interface never tells you "no." You can browse and add discs to your queue to your heart's content, but you only get one (or a few) discs at a time. This lowers anxiety significantly because you don't feel like you are sacrificing many other choices at the time of viewing. Of course, this example doesn't work at all when you bring Netflix's "Watch Instantly" feature into the mix.
Left and right brain:
One of the fundamental problems with text ads over video is that these two media don't play well together. The left and right parts of the brain work relatively independently of one another. When consuming images, especially moving images, it is nearly impossible to consume text without switching the style of cognition. When text and video appear together, both suffer.
Part 2 of the session focused on recognizing that brands behave more as channels, like television, than they do as a collection of standalone messaging, which has traditionally been the case. There are so many platforms and platform-specific messages that the messaging needs to be unified. Content needs to carry the same overall message everywhere it appears even though the ways it appears will be very different from platform to platform. Target recognized this with their in-store channel, Channel Red.
Design is a powerful business tool. Technology is the messenger, not the message. Don’t let the tech get in the way. The goal is the same as it’s always been. Make people feel, not think. Not enough advertising does this. After all, we’re still talking to people, not robots (for now).