Find Your Way To Tolerance And Other Wonderful Places

Today, we must ask ourselves what is the difference between content and a commercial?

Some say that content is everything, thus the innards or makings of a commercial. Though technically that is true, I don’t define content that way. In a marketing context, content is the long-form narrative thread that customers connect with because it is enriching to do so.

Here, let’s use Expedia’s “Find Yours” campaign from 180LA to illustrate.

This is a commercial:

And this is (advocacy-infused) content:

Same story-based structure. Same campaign with the same goals.

What’s different is the space content lends. We make commercials to help guide people to the brand’s point of difference and often to ask for the sale. We make content to instruct and/or entertain a brand’s customers and prospects; therefore, content is more of a brand exercise than are many commercials.

Content that expresses thoughtfully the common ground, or shared interests, between customers and the brand is content for the win. Speaking of content for the win, 180LA and Expedia have moved from just utility and/or entertainment in this newest iteration of their campaign (see above).

Taking a stand means taking a risk. Will conservative Christians recoil upon seeing this pro-gay marriage piece? Yep. But Expedia is smart enough to know that you can’t be all things to all people. They may lose some customers for coming out with a provocative piece like this, but the brand is going to win some fans, as well. Personally, I like a brand that takes a stand. Now that Expedia has done so, I view them more favorably.

Here are two more pieces of video content from the “Find Yours” campaign that both feature travel bloggers and the life-changing impact that overseas travel had on their lives: Travel Blogger Trish Friesen from Trip Styler and Travel Bloggers Dave and Deb from The Planet D.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.