Virals Are So 2007

Increasingly, branded utility is the big topic of the day.
Brian Morrissey of Adweek is on it and so are members of the digerati.
Here’s what Jeff Benjamin, interactive cd at Crispin has to say:

Rather than craft a one-off Web site, advertisers want to build brand loyalty by providing utilities that both improve people’s lives in some small way — even if it’s simply a tool for customizing pizza — and directly pad corporate bottom lines.
“The new ‘viral’ is going to be a business solution for clients.”

Morrissey also speaks to several other people in agreement with this line of thinking.
It’s worth a close read.

[UPDATE] Today at 5:00 pm, I heard more from the digerati about this topic. Kevin Flatt, Executive Creative Director at Tribal DDB/Chicago and Garrick Schmitt, VP, User Experience at Avenue A | Razorfish in San Francisco never said the words, “branded utility.” Nevertheless, their message was clear. Schmitt said, “We’re designing for participation and distribution.” Flatt said, it’s not about what a brand says, it’s about what a brand does. He gave Nike+ as an example. He said, it’s not an ad campaign, rather it’s a tech solution that changed people’s perception about running. “It’s these type of programs we need to be most interested in creating.”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I’ve been ranting about for a while now.
    It’s the whole “Your Brand Is Not My Friend” thing.
    Just did a post on it yesterday, in fact:

  2. Hmmm, brands should provide some usefulness to its audience. How is this new thinking?