It’s Primarily Content That Creates The Connections

In a new piece on AdAge, Friend of AdPulp (FoA) and BeanCast host, Bob Knorpp challenges the content-centric world view that’s so prevalent in marketing circles today.

We create endless blog posts and tweets and videos to fulfill our perceived need for content and call it our social-media strategy. Trouble is it’s not really a social strategy, as much as a search-engine-optimization strategy. We aren’t necessarily engaging an audience with this “content.” All we are doing is enticing them to watch and maybe share a link. So in the end the value of most “content strategies” is to create inbound link traffic, which is really SEO.

When we set out to create digital stories, maybe it’s time we left behind old models completely. Instead of looking for ways to get eyeballs on our videos or clicks to our pages, maybe we need more focus on creating multilayered experiences that keep people involved, immersed and interacting.

I appreciate the reminder to create multilayered immersive experiences that you, dear reader, will find deeply engaging. But I admit that I’m also at something of a loss. What do these experiences look and feel like on AdPulp? What do the experiences look and feel like on The BeanCast, or on any modern “ad” campaign you can think of?

Let’s take Crispin’s Subservient Chicken and Wieden’s Man On A Horse as examples. Both succeeded in capturing the imagination of millions. The campaigns were indeed mass marketing campaigns, but they didn’t feel like it, because individual people were invited to participate and play along.

When you look at Subservient Chicken and Man On A Horse, it seems pretty obvious that personalization and customization drives participation and sharing on the web. Yet, let’s also look at the content in these two cases. Ultimately, it was the content that people loved and wanted to share. So it’s easy to conclude that the rich experiences that Knorpp and others are calling for, are dependent on great content (which is helped immensely by personalization and customization). It’s the content that people immerse themselves in and interact with, then comes the sharing.



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.