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Stretch Your Marketing Budget By Thinking Outside the Box

Stretch Your Marketing Budget By Thinking Outside the Box

Nicola Clark, Marketing

The fact that a T-Mobile ad has attracted more views on YouTube than Barack Obama’s historic inauguration speech may be viewed by some as a dispiriting sign of the times. The clip of commuters breaking into a dance routine at London’s Liverpool Street station is, at the time of writing, the 57th most- viewed YouTube clip of all time. Its popularity is partly down to a fascination with ‘flashmobbing’, but also points to the online power of creative advertising.

A growing number of marketers are looking at how they can exploit their creative across multiple platforms, whether through virais of TV spots, behind-thescenes footage or branded content.

The aim is to devise a creative campaign that both delivers a return on investment and makes the execution pay for its own media space. Such work can take on a viral life of its own or involve branded content that can be repeated across various channels. Either way, making content work harder has become vital as the downturn continues to bite.

Adrian Swift, director of television at etv media group, says there are many previous instances where the life of creative content has been extended. ‘One of the greatest examples of recycling content is the plusone television channels, while clip shows have been doing this for decades,’ he says.

This is not to say that marketers should simply re-run old ad campaigns but the time has come to get creative about how and where content can be used.

Etv’s work with Thomas Cook is a case in point; any creative idea for the brand has to resonate online, in-store, on mobiles, and in podcasts, magazines and catalogues.‘We have created a huge library of digital content for Thomas Cook that we can pull together for tailored campaigns and shows,’ says Swift.

Matthew Wigham, executive director of broadcast at Manning Gottlieb OMD, believes the growth in online video has spawned an enormous opportunity for brands. A number of clients are now thinking differently about how they can extend their brands into YouTube, from investing in more long-form content, to simply embedding their TV spots online,’ he says.

Crucially, online activity, and viral campaigns in particular, are seen by many as a way to plug the gap for brands struggling with dwindling marketing budgets. ‘We are absolutely seeing a move away from TV,’ says Saatchi & Saatchi head of strategy Richard Huntingdon. ‘Brands can rely more on online, especially when you think that Google, the most valuable brand on Earth, doesn’t advertise on TV at all.’

This development raises a number of questions. Are advertisers getting carried away with reach? Are agencies that actively plant ads on YouTube with tags such as ‘annoying oven ad’ really doing anything positive for brands? Most importantly, will those consumers actively seeking out irritating ads then go on to buy these products?

As one senior marketer puts it: ‘Agencies seem to measure the success of these campaigns simply by reach. They need to be more rigorous in proving that these campaigns have a positive impact on sales.’

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