Here's a video that you might enjoy if, like me, you had a time when Jack Kerouac and Herman Hesse and teenage angst all got together, had a few beers, told a few lies and contemplated the universe.
No, I haven't gone all wa-wa, this is a brief story about content marketing. Watch the film. It's nicely shot. Some of Kerouac's more obscure ramblings about life and death, with some trippy Buddhist ideas have ben blended with footage of hipsters doing curiously hipsterish things like riding motorcycles and onesie bikes, glimpses of teasing lover and hints of ambiguity. Shot with Tumbleresque filters and some Johnny Cash and Pink Floyd thrown in for good measure. It's hard not to sound sarcastic. But I rather enjoyed it. I guess my state of mind affects that - I'm feeling contemplative at the moment - my aperture of receptivity is wide open for sentiment (something an ad planner could never plan for but maybe Facebook could 'sense'?).
Here's the kicker. It is all paid for by Lacoste.
Which raises the question - can brands benefit from content marketing if the material they create has no overt branding?
If placed in context, of a publication owned by the brand or a channel or web site, then I suppose the context carries the day.
In the wider sense it also suggests that novelty has a new meaning. The presentation should be novel to the brand, fresh and new - but a continuation of their brand's project. Abercrombie and Fitch did this over the years (before their fall from favor). Their advertising and catalogs expressed a curiously nonsensical vision of WASP American youth laid bare by star photographer Bruce Weber. It was content marketing before the term was commonplace.
The aspect of content marketing that I haven't seen discussed much is the relationship between strategy and tactics. In the 1980s I worked on the Singapore Airlines ad account. Batey ads in SIngapore had created a sensation with the Singapore Girl, gliding through the skies elegantly with 'a certain way about' her. It was beautiful, evocative and brilliantly separated the promised brand experience from other carriers' offerings - admittedly at the tail end of an era before timetable and cost became the wind beneath the wings of the entire industry. In tandem with this luscious material the airline ran punchy mono ads in the newspapers 40x7 and full broadsheet pages promoting the latest fares - or even their cargo division - the Singapore Girl still looked out invitingly from the bottom of the page but this was the call to action stuff - the tactical, behavior changing material - less 'love you long time' and more 'no money no honey'.
This is something that marketers need to keep in mind when they are being charmed by the snake oil salesmen. The till still has to ring. Crafting beautiful films is a fine endeavor but you'll be sunk without the sale.
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.