By David Baldwin

Back in the 1970s, people encountered 500 to 1,600 ads daily. If that number seems mind-blowing to you, set your mind fire extinguishers to full geyser because today the average person comes across somewhere between 4,000 to 10,000 ads in a single day.

It makes sense, right? In the ‘70s you had fewer, mostly analog media choices compared to today where you have all the traditional outlets plus tons of social media feeds, podcasts, satellite radio, banners, product placement, and all the digital hoohah serving you ads at an ever-escalating rate. We are swimming in advertising not to mention being tracked and cookied to death. (Cookie-less world, sure.)

In fact, I’d argue that social media has outkicked its coverage with advertising. Because we’re on the receiving end of such a nonstop barrage from these platforms that they don’t really exist – in any recognizable way – for the reasons they started in the first place. Remember when Facebook was about connecting with friends and Instagram was about sharing photos? Until we say, “Enough!” there will never be enough for the feeds.

So, the question is: What and how are we being fed?

First, let’s clarify, I’m an advertising guy. I’ve been doing this for going on (almost) four decades. I love advertising. When it’s good, it’s great and when it’s bad, it’s annoying – a very simple equation. But in my mind, that’s the game. Try to do the good stuff that people like and you can change everything.

It doesn’t take a raft of research to realize that most advertising these days now comes from the direct marketing wisdom of the ages: ROI-driven, tried and true rules. Never mind that the history of direct marketing is littered with campaigns that bucked the system and engaged its consumers with wonderful content and won big results. But sadly, that work has never been the norm, and it certainly isn’t these days.

And maybe I just committed what might be the problem: The word “consumer” and the idea that we’re “consumers.”

How did we – human beings with thoughts and feelings, wives, husbands, children, families, relationships – ever allow ourselves to be relegated and chained to the idea of consumption?

Are you a consumer? Really? Is that why you exist, to consume? Look at your little children, are they consumers? Are you a locust descending on a field to consume all in your path? I hope not.

And you might say it’s just a word but my orientation as a copywriter is that words are everything and how we label things bends perceptions. And man, have we bent our perceptions to think of ourselves as “consumers.”

Seriously, count how many times you hear the word “consumer” during your day. I counted once and it was something like 63 times in one day. It’s on the news, in economic forecasts, and in the papers. You can find it all over the pages of the Wall Street Journal and on just about any news site you can name. It’s everywhere.

The word is ubiquitous, and we don’t even question it. Maybe the situation was summed up beautifully by Howard Gossage who said, “I don’t know who discovered water, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a fish.” We’ve lost perspective and don’t see it anymore; we just accept the notion that we’re here to be consumers.

So, what’s the alternative? What if we start using different words to think of our customers?

What if we think of them as collaborators, co-conspirators, co-creators, or some better descriptor? Let’s treat them like human beings – your friends, family, brothers, sisters, moms, neighbours – not demographic statistics. David Ogilvy famously said, “The consumer is not a moron, she’s your wife.” We know this in our bones, let’s act like it.

What kind of value are you creating in people’s lives with your brand and your marketing? Start there.

Maybe, on a fundamental level, we replace consumption with collaboration. This is a facet of the diamond put forward by Michael Porter known as “Shared Value” – the idea that business is in a better position to make the world better than non-profits, NGOs, and even churches because what business does is solve a problem and then scale the solution. If business gets on the track of making things better, it’ll happen much faster than any other way. This doesn’t negate other organizations doing good, far from it. It just might offer a quicker route to making a difference by using market forces.

But a good first step might be to stop thinking of people as a number to achieve an objective. I call it the Golden Rule of Marketing:

“Market unto others the way you’d like to be marketed to.”

We have a responsibility to engage, to inform, to create quality experiences – not run into the room, drop a grenade and scream at people, exhorting them to call or click on us, dammit! It’s exhausting and unrelenting.

There has never been a better time to create work that has a point of view, a message, and leaves the viewer/reader with a positive experience or better informed. We have an opportunity to make people feel good about what we make, what they buy, and why they buy it.

Rather than consume or buy, just maybe they’ll buy into what you’re making and selling. And isn’t that better for everyone?

Feature Image Credit: Jingxi Lau

By David Baldwin

David is an author, film producer, entrepreneur, and one of the most awarded copywriters and creative directors in the ad business today. The founder of Baldwin&, co-founder of the Ponysaurus Brewing Co, co-founder of Take Your Seat, and author of the Amazon bestseller The Belief Economy, David is also the former Chairman of the One Club, and his work has been recognized by Cannes, One Show, D&AD, Clios, Effies, and more. His film work (Art & Copy, The Loving Story) has won two Emmys and a Peabody Award.

Sourced from Brandingmag

By David Gianatasio

“I don’t have much money, but, boy, if I did. I’d buy a big house where we both could live.”

Rising artist AHI performs a passionate cover of Elton John’s “Your Song,” wringing fresh nuances from each familiar line as Ikea Canada launches a revamped brand platform themed “Bring Home to Life.”

This husky, expansive version drives the short film below. It tells the tale of an immigrant family’s arrival in Toronto, opening with a young father’s first glimpse inside their new apartment.

He’s greeted by an odd tableau: In otherwise empty rooms—with no furniture, carpets or even pictures on the walls—about a dozen people wait, frozen in space and time. The action mainly transpires in the father’s imagination as he contemplates a joyous future in this place, surrounded by family and new friends, with items from Ikea completing the scene.

Ikea | Bring Home to Life

Directed OPC’s Gary Freedman, a minute-long edit of the dreamy, cinematic narrative launched during last night’s Emmy Awards.

“We’ve been working on a new Ikea brand platform for more than a year, and this spot is the anchor of that new platform,” says Michelle Spivak, creative director at Rethink, which crafted the campaign. “We looked to tell a story that demonstrated how Ikea helped bring a home to life in a heartwarming way. We loved the idea of that moment when you walk into a new home for the first time, and all you can see is potential.”

The work feels like an extension of recent brand efforts focused on reimagining what home can be. These include introducing a cheeky Ikea collection to ease the transition of returning to the office, and transforming actual Toronto-area houses into showroom displays. “Bring Home to Life” expands on such notions. The push explores many vibrant physical, emotional and social aspects of home, with the retailer’s products and services adding special significance.

In the launch film, “you see the bare space and think of the people who will fill the room,” Spivak says. “The people who will sit at the table. The friends who will gather on the sofa. Ultimately, a house can be filled with a number of items, but it’s the moments and memories we create around those pieces that give them significance. We took that thought and added a bit of magic by having everything frozen until Ikea is added to the home. As our main character arrives to his empty apartment, he’s met with the vision of the housewarming celebration he’ll throw the day his wife and young daughter finally join him.”

That’s a lofty, poetic conceit, well-realized and visually striking, if a tad difficult to fully grasp without repeat viewings. Still, the heartfelt remake of “Your Song” and those intriguing images should enchant ears and eyes, even if the storyline feels elusive at first.

The team shot footage over four days in Parkdale, one of Toronto’s most diverse neighborhoods. “The bodega is real. The bike shop is real. It’s a very authentic place for a newcomer to start their life in Canada,” Spivak says. “The interiors were matched to the exterior of the building but were actually captured in a custom-built set.”

And yes, those actors had to hold their positions, like statues, often for several achy minutes per take.

“As part of the casting, we asked people to freeze in place,” Spivak recalls. “We needed people who could translate emotion without words, but also without moving. That’s when it became apparent how difficult being frozen—while looking natural at the same time—would be. We did as much in camera as possible, with some of our talent propped up on apple boxes and stools we removed in post.”

As for the song choice, “we cast a wide net across genres, but always knowing we wanted the performance to be intimate and personal,” says Johanna Andrén, head of marketing at Ikea Canada. “The lyrics needed to punctuate the story. The voice needed to feel authentic. Our music director found this amazing singer, AHI, a local, Juno-nominated artist with a voice we loved—emotive and warm. He had a young family of his own, and you could feel his tribute to them in his performance.”

“Your Song” mentions home fleetingly, but the vibe’s just right. And you really can’t go wrong with Elton John. Kudos for passing over more obvious choices, like “Our House,” a very very very fine track, to be sure, but too on the nose.

Ultimately, “while there is Ikea furniture in almost every scene in the spot, the aim was to inspire a feeling bigger than the collection of products,” Andrén says. “There is real magic in how every individual home comes to life in its own unique way, and we want to celebrate that idea with this platform for years to come.”

Along with TV, online video and social, the campaign will include traditional billboards and 3-D OOH activations.


Client: IKEA
Agency: Rethink
CCO: Aaron Starkman
CSO: Sean McDonald
ECD: Mike Dubrick
Creative Director: Michelle Spavin
ACD: Brendan Scullion, Max Bingham
Art Director: Max Bingham
Writer: Brendan Scullion
Strategy Director: Jay Fleming
Director of Broadcast Production: Shelby Spigelman/Nadya MacNeil
Broadcast Producer: Mark Pan
Senior Print Producer: Agnes Gilchrist
Print Producer: Jenna Fullerton

TV Production Company: OPC Production
Director: Gary Freedman
Line Producer: Max Brook

Post Production House: Nimiopere
Editor: Graham Chisholm
Executive Producer (Nimiopere): Julie Axell

VFX House: The Vanity
VFX Supervisor: Naveen Srivastava
Colourist: Andrew Axworth
Senior Producer (The Vanity): Katie Methot

Photography Production Company: Fuze Reps
Photographer: Chris Robinson
Director of photography: Zach Koski
Executive Producer (Fuze Reps) : Nicole Gomez
Associate Producer: Alexa Dimitruk

Audio House: Vapor Music
Executive Producer (Audio House): Kailee Nowosad
Creative Director (Audio House): Ted Rosnick
Engineer: Ryan Chalmers

Account Services:
Group Account Director: Kiara Wilson
Account Director: Sheldon Abreu
Account Director: Catherine Blouin-Mainville
Account Supervisor: Melissa Luk
Account Manager: Gabrielle Bergeron

Head of Marketing, IKEA Canada: Johanna Andrén
Director of Brand Marketing, IKEA Canada: Claudia Mayne
Country Marketing Campaign Leader: Jordan Sequeira
Marketing Communications Specialist: Carolyn Thrasher
Marketing Specialist: Noah Keefe

Additional Credits:

Media Agency: Carat Canada
Vice President: Karen Hrstic
Account Director: Tracey Cronin
Media Supervisor: Christine Ma

CRM: Wunderman Thompson
Account Director: Maryam Asad
Account Executive: Hannes Danielsson


By David Gianatasio

Sourced from Muse by Clio

By Jessica Entner

Looking for engagement? Make it meme-able!

There is a very long list of songs and audio clips that have helped create trends, new content, new followers and often help break songs or artists. Sometimes a trend happens using an “oldie but goodie” and introduces a younger audience to an artist from the past, as was the case for the resurgence of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”

I’m positive Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood and Ocean Spray all appreciated the opportunity (Mick even responded with his own video). In turn, that viral content also helped launched the career of Doggface (aka Nathan Apodoca) who is now taking on acting roles. The publicity behind this viral phenomenon was a win-win for everyone.

And then there are the missed opportunities. I’m sure you’ve seen the cutest audio bite—”I want to be a marshmallow”—being used in a variety of ways on socials. Who can resist that little voice saying “wobble ’round?” IMHO, this was a missed opportunity for a few key brands. Jet Puffed, Kraft and Nabisco, where you at? It was teed up so perfectly…

There’s also this year’s audio trend which is super relatable, unexpected, and is also my favourite morning mantra.

So what IS going on?

Sound trends are widely popular in the creator culture, but why? What makes a sound go viral? And why do people use it over and over again? The answer, for the most part, is fairly obvious.

Memes = Memorable

The majority of sounds used on TikTok and various social media platforms are comedic in nature and allow most creators to either jump on the bandwagon of a meme, or create their own version of a new meme in order to perpetuate the popularity of a chosen soundtrack. Sound clips, songs, or catchphrases are often dubbed over new content for weeks on end until the next audio trend is discovered.

Why is this important to brands and marketers? If you want an organic post to go viral, then MAKE IT MEME-ABLE!

When you are looking to boost engagement and brand loyalty while appealing to the creator community, you need a solid audio component to propel your post into a viral phenomenon.

Let’s evaluate how certain qualities of audio boost your chances for viral content.

Intentional Sound

Sound has power. Whether it’s a song or a soundbite, using audio as a memorable component to a social post should sound intentional. Brands that created original audio with their posts saw a 52 percent increase in 6-second view rates, compared to content that featured a registered track. With original audio, other creators can also repurpose it in a “meme-able” way, which can create clickback and substantial traction to the brand’s original post.

Sticky Sound

If you want content to stick with the masses, you should consider following these guidelines when creating your audio components:

  • Comedic in nature: Humour is one of the most memorable and emotionally impactful tools anyone can leverage. When using a funny song or sound, not only are you providing enjoyment to the listener, but a comedic sound has a much higher chance of “getting stuck” in someone’s head than any other type of content. People love to replay, and/or share, anything that can make them laugh.
  • Catchphrases or relevant lyrics: Lyrics or phrases in your audio that evoke a sense of familiarity have a higher chance of being repurposed by creators since they have already exhibited popularity and relevance.

Comedy and familiarity are two great qualities to make your audio “stick” and get picked for the next iteration of content consumption and sharing.

Well Placed/Paced Sound

Music that has a great tempo for editing or good pacing has a higher chance of resonating with consumers. If your lyrics are timed to imagery and the sound and visual compliment each other just right, the better the chance your viewers will share, and creators will repurpose.

Recently, I saw that one of my favourite artists, Woodkid’s “Run Boy Run,” was trending on IG with this new challenge of how well your friends know your passions. This is a great example of “well placed” sound and pacing.

Trending Sound

Jumping on mainstream bandwagons is a good way to boost your content. Whether there’s a new dance challenge, photo collage, or creator trend, getting your audio in conjunction with trending content, through aligned hashtags, is a great way to get recycled by social media algorithms.

A good example of a song that created a photo trend was “As it Was,” by Harry Styles. Creators’ interpretations of the lyrics incited a trend of posting photos of themselves over the years, documenting their personal change. The audio had great tempo for editing to the visuals, and the lyrics complimented the imagery well.

Although a lot of trends use mainstream songs, the thread between all of them is that they have been used as memes organically. Pay attention to trends on social media, and listen close to how the audio propels them.

Celebrity Sound

Any celebrity driven content, whether there’s use of a known song or an original, will always get attention. If a celebrity starts the trend, then the chance of it going viral and being recreated is even higher.

A good example of this is Lizzo’s song “About Damn Time.” Not only was her song already catchy and a popular hit, but it ignited a dance challenge that caught fire fast. The lyrics worked perfectly with the imagery, and the dance videos had the comedic and expressive elements we discussed earlier, especially since Lizzo herself got involved. Tacking on celebrity driven trends like these challenges, are a great way for your videos to get exposure, and for you to be a part of the chatter.

Nostalgic Sound

Many songs that have been trending well on TikTok, for instance, have displayed audio components that evoke nostalgia. Nostalgia is such a powerful emotion to tap into for brands, and a great way to ignite and connect different audience demographics. “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush, is a great example of this. Not only is the 1985 hit trending again because of its recent resurgence in Stranger Things, but younger creators are now reposting videos of themselves in different contexts, some relating to the show, and some not at all.

The song’s combo of nostalgia, great tempo for editing, and imagery, made it a perfect recipe for viral content, especially since it was in conjunction with a hit show.

“The chances of going viral can be improved by choosing classic chart-toppers that may find a revival among younger audiences. When a beloved artist is found by Gen-Z audiences, it leads to gatekeeping by longtime fans, as well as counter-gatekeeping by fans who are thrilled to see a younger audience connecting with one of their favourite artists’ music.” (The Conversation).


When creating your content, remember to be intentional with your sound. How is it going to resonate, and why will it? What’s the tangible longevity of this campaign, and is it meme-able?

“Songs with short catchy hooks that are attached to eye-grabbing visual sequences in clips that are sixty, or better yet thirty, seconds maximum are more likely to be picked up on and shared on TikTok.” (The Conversation).

In January 2021, The MIT Technology Review published an article entitled “The future of social networks might be audio.” With the upsurge of audio related content being made, it proves one point over and over again, we all just really want to be HEARD. People, brands, stories, theories, you name it, music helps us be heard.

As we continue to become more globally connected via social media the one thing that always stands true: the language of sound and music is universal.

By Jessica Entner

Jessica Entner is the founder and executive creative producer of JEM Music+Strategy

Sourced from Muse by Clio

By Anton Volovyk

People like to be entertained. But despite the global growth of the advertising market, the level of fun in advertising – that thing which amuses people so much – has steadily declined over the past 20 years. Its new resurgence has been strongly influenced by the disastrous events of the last few months and even years: elections, the pandemic, and wars.

It’s time for more businesses to upgrade their sales efforts and start taking fun more seriously, because, the truth is, if users are having fun, they’re also buying.

Before we get into how this works, it’s worth asking one fundamental question.

What makes content “fun”?

Perhaps it’s all about a sense of pleasure, expression, and fellowship – or is it literally funny? Or all of this at once. Let’s identify “fun” as high-virality content that causes strong emotions (predominantly positive) and great user engagement.

We’ll also discuss the power of humour in a marketing strategy, so let’s figure out how the fun works and why brand communication should be more diverse and entertaining.

1. The anchor of user attention

Technologies are on the rise, and businesses are implementing new approaches to creative advertising, as marketers have just three seconds to convince a user and grab their attention. These seconds before scrolling or skipping are the most valuable, so you should be 100% confident in the catchiness of your message.

Social media and information websites suffer the most from banner blindness because, while advertising makes up part of their income, users tend to skip the ads to get to the content. The average click-through rate for display ads is around 0.46%. But fun has become a unique feature that makes an ad noticeable and memorable.

According to research by HubSpot, 35% of Americans surveyed in 2021 remembered an ad because it contained elements of fun. And if you remember the Super Bowl, it’s more likely because of its creative and fun ads or the Halftime Show, and not because of the champion teams. This year, humour made a big comeback in Super Bowl LVI, like in the BMW commercial starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Salma Hayek as ancient gods retiring from Mount Olympus to Palm Springs.

Global brands and even small, young, and creatively savvy companies have learned to sell emotions and make it a part of their strategy. In recent years, fun has become one of these key emotions.

2. The level of engagement

Humour is the second most popular type of content that people share on social media, and its appeal is stable. Savvy marketers are aware of this and often slip a hint of fun into advertisements: contests, short videos, games, pranks, etc.

Humour doesn’t just overtake the old-school, rational, message-based ad formats. It also surpasses other methods for selling emotions methods, such as “televisual senses” in food advertising.

The dating app Schmooze allows users to “swipe memes, not people”, matching each other based on their sense of humour. This meme-centric approach has gained over 300,000 users since it was launched on a college campus in 2020.

People share content for various reasons: to communicate or be helpful, to raise their self-esteem or reputation, etc. However, according to psychological theory, novelty-seeking is another solid digital drug. Anything that seems new or fills in information gaps can trigger dopamine release.

Humour has long been used as a tool of communication and public diplomacy – even during wars. And still, humour is at the top of social media content because it generates virality.

The Reddit experiment “Place” (2017) caused an epic war of pixels on a collaborative digital art canvas, where users from all over the world could place a pixel every five minutes. It went viral in just 72 hours and involved more than 200,000 participants. The reasons are – novelty, fun, and unpredictability.

Is synthetically generated content the new fun?

Content consumption is on the rise. Emerging technologies and their applications, such as NFT, ML mechanics, and AR/VR tools create stronger emotional ties with users through new types of content. Synthetic media creation has become yet another endless source of enjoyment.

Try not to overcook fries in the virtual IKEA kitchen, swap your face into the trailer of an upcoming movie, or join Justin Bieber for an immersive live show in the metaverse. Campaigns using synthetic media and immersive ads can take an integrated approach and facilitate an emotional response from viewers, because people enjoy humorous images and sharing unusual content.

In 2018, McDonald’s designed an AR effect to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac. The next year, the company took its business to the next level by purchasing an artificial intelligence marketing startup for over $300 million, one of its most significant acquisitions to date.

3. The tool for social influence

Among the obvious reasons for implementing fun into your advertising campaigns, there is one more that many creatives don’t usually take into account. Fun is a powerful tool for influencing public opinion that can be used to launch social campaigns. Humour allows you to pack a strong message into a simple shape that is easily understandable to many.

The Silicon Valley FoodTech unicorn JUST Egg knows how this works. To draw attention to the problem of global warming during Earth Month, the eco-friendly brand JUST Egg elegantly trolled American legislators on their own territory in Washington. JUST Egg has captured a 98% market share in egg substitutes in the US, which can be considered a huge product influencer.

During the last two months, social media has also added another ingredient, bringing immediacy into strategic communication as a new kind of fun. Joining the war against Russian propaganda, the Ukrainian government’s Twitter account uses humour as a tool of information warfare.

Whether you own a brand of corn flakes or represent a major government organization, implementing and packing fun into your creative commercial is another way to cultivate and engage a community.

There’s no need to turn every business marketing strategy into a humour-centric one, especially if the entertainment industry is not related to your project. However, in general, brand communication and marketing are moving toward giving emotions and a sense of unity. The easier it is to make your customers laugh, the more gladly they will interact with your product.

Feature Image Credit: Daniel Salcius

By Anton Volovyk

Anton Volovyk holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School and a Master in Finance degree from IE Business School. Anton is an expert in app-monetization, business development, and leadership. Before Reface, he worked at the Boston Consulting Group, a global strategy consulting company working with clients across consumer, tech, and media. Prior to BCG, Anton worked in investment banking in the M&A department and Private Equity as a tech and consumer investor.

Sourced from Brandingmag


Here’s how to design a billboard.

Before the age of social media, the likes of billboards and posters dominated the advertising world. And while they’re not as popular as they once were, some clever print designs still pack an impactful punch, and the designs in this roundup are some of the best we’ve ever seen.

We’ve assembled the four most surprising billboard designs that’d be sure to make you stop and stare in the street. And if you can’t get enough of these designs, you’ll love our more extensive roundup of the best billboard advertising, and might also enjoy the spooky upside-down Stranger Things billboard.

01. Wee Billboard

Elvie billboard showing weightlifting woman appearing to pee

(Image credit: Elvie)

Yep, you read that correctly, this billboard actually urinates (well, not actually, it just secretes water). It’s safe to say we haven’t ever seen a billboard that wees before, so it should come as no surprise that we’ve added it to our list. This provocative design is promoting Elvie, the women’s health brand, which is trying to raise awareness for mild and minor incontinence.

02. Adidas underwater billboard


Does this remind anyone else of a Damien Hirst? (Image credit: Adidas)

Now, this might look like an underwater-themed billboard, but surprisingly enough, that’s actual water. Adidas set up the swimming pool-cum-billboard on a beach in Dubai to encourage women to get in and have a swim, as a way to help combat body confidence issues.

The billboard box is full of over 11,500 gallons of water and I don’t know about you, but the design kind of reminds me of a Damien Hirst design.

03. Specsavers billboard

The Specsavers billboard

These billboard were one big genius mistake (Image credit: The Agency/Specsavers)

You may think that this Specsavers billboard just looks like one big mistake – and you’d be correct. These genius designs may look like a big fat mishap, but of course, they’re part of Specsavers’ famous ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’ campaign.

Some of the billboards in this collection look as though they’ve been printed the wrong way up, while others look as though they’ve accidentally plastered ladders into the design. If I’d seen these designs on the streets of London and Leeds, then I may have thought that street artist Banksy was responsible for them.

04. Bee Billboard

The McHive

Of course McDonald’s named its bee billboards, the ‘McHive’ (Image credit: NORD DDB / McDonald’s)

Now McDonald’s is renowned for some of its brilliant advertising campaigns, and this might just be my favourite. The fast food chain in Sweden released a number of billboards that weren’t just promoting Big Macs and Fries, but actually doubling up as a home for bees.

The billboards, aptly named the ‘McHives‘, were fully functioning beehives. The ads were made of big wooden panels with holes drilled into them, and were created to help support the Swedish wild bees that were under threat because of the lack of rest areas nearby – how cute.


Sourced from CREATIVE BLOQ

By Rob Sellars

The marketing and advertising industry has long had a tendency to focus on the next shiny thing that sits on the fringes, promising virtual revolution. From the advent of social, through the questionable promise of VR or NFTs, to the infinite possibilities of the metaverse, many have made their way from the edge of the tech world to the slides of an agency deck.

This isn’t to dispute their worth, but to reflect on the fact that for every presentation or panel about how to utilize the virtual reality of the metaverse, how many focus on the very real and current reality for consumers. The people who we talk to, track and temp. The people who buy products and services we advertise. And now, the people who are in the midst of the harshest personal finance crisis in a generation.

The reality can’t be underestimated. UK inflation has hit a 40-year high of 9.1%, driven by soaring food and energy prices, exacerbating the fall in ‘real’ incomes (after tax and inflation) Brits have experienced since 2021.

YouGov found half of all Brits say their financial situation has become worse in the last month, with one in five already struggling or unable to make ends meet. 5% are already saying “I cannot afford my costs, and often have to go without essentials like food and heating”, up from just 1% last year.

Efforts from Chancellor Rishi Sunak to tackle the crisis were labelled by the Think Tank Resolution Foundation as a “big but poorly targeted policy package” which ultimately will still “see a further 1.3 million people fall into absolute poverty next year, including 500,000 children – the first time Britain has seen such a rise in poverty outside of recessions.”

So as purveyors of goods and services that we hope these same people will exchange their – increasingly restricted – disposable income for, it’s not a huge leap to say that we should take some responsibility and explore ways we can help.

Even if the human case weren’t enough, it’s worth noting that a third of Brits say they can mostly cover essential costs but don’t often have money for luxuries now. With that picture likely to get worse before it gets better, it’s worth considering how quickly your product or service could become one of those unattainable luxuries. The cost of living emergency is a significant crisis with no single solution. But here are some ways we might all be able to help.

B2B: less about cutting costs and more about adding value

It is crucial to hold fast during the crisis and avoid eroding or undermining your hard fought for brand equity. So where possible avoid price and promo strategies that reframe your product and its value in consumers eyes. When consumer confidence and disposable income rise again, you don’t want to be left behind.

Instead, consider other tactics as a business. Offering benefits or points for loyal customers who have long shopped with you shows that loyalty works both ways. Reducing charges for things such as delivery demonstrates that you understand that every pound counts and your willingness to go the extra mile. Or work with retailers and providers to offer free add-ons or savings with every purchase.

Consumer: less about short term pain and more about long term gain

If your prices go up or your products change (see the reported rise in ‘shrinkflation’) make sure you communicate with your consumers as to why, what it might mean for your business, and what it might mean for them.

If, for example, the issues in European supply chains mean you’ve started sourcing locally and therefore that might push up prices, demonstrate the benefit of that to communities and be honest about the impact – good and bad.

Consider other ways you might be able to help your customers save in the long run. Could you offer your product through a subscription service that ultimately saves them money, but also creates one less thing to deal with day-to-day? Are there small elements of added value you can offer, like gifts or free experiences to collect?

And think about those at the sharpest end of the crisis, who don’t know where their next meal might come from or how they’re going to clothe their families, and consider your scope for offering your help to charities, welfare providers and other partners who can put your products to good use.

Importantly demonstrate empathy with what might be happening, but don’t try to commercialise it or take advantage in any way. Our bullshit detectors are at their most sensitive in times of crisis.

Employer: less about pay and more about care

It might be easy to forget that some individuals within our companies will be feeling the impact of the cost of living crisis too. Those who we’re asking to immerse themselves in the metaverse so we look smart in front of a client, might likewise be worrying about their reality as any pay rises or bonuses are quickly outstripped by rising inflation.

So consider how you might be flexible and ready to work with employees on their needs.

For example some might feel the crunch on their home utility costs meaning they would rather be in the office, while conversely others might be less able to afford transport costs and so would rather work at home.

And consider how the benefits you offer to your teams might be able to help ease costs and pressure in certain aspects of their lives. Pay rises might not always be an immediate option, but there are other ways to ease their cost-of-living.

The future will come, the next marketing revolution will inevitably take hold. But here and now, we must consider the reality for our consumers, and the role our brands can play in tackling a very real crisis.

By Rob Sellars

Sourced from The Drum

By John Long

To create emotion, you’ll need more than a postage stamp

What do Picasso’s Guernica, Michelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and The Godfather have in common? Enormous scale.

Guernica is 11½ feet tall and over 25 feet wide. The Sistine Chapel covers over 12,000 square feet. The Godfather is three hours long. And a big part of their emotional impact comes from these mammoth dimensions.

Sure, you can pull up a snapshot of these masterpieces on Wikipedia or watch a few clips of The Godfather on your smartphone. But you don’t experience them viscerally—not really—until you see them in their original format. And when you do, you never forget it.

So what does that have to do with advertising?

Too many brands today rely too much on media formats that make it difficult, if not impossible, to connect emotionally with their audience. We spend a lot of time worrying about craft and storytelling, as we should. But we should start paying more attention to the mix of media we’re investing in, because it’s hard to inspire emotion when you’re working on a canvas the size of a postage stamp.

I’m not saying it’s impossible, or that art has to be big to have impact. If you’ve ever seen it in person at the Louvre, you know that the Mona Lisa is surprisingly small. But with apologies to Marshall McLuhan, the media is the message. And some media are better than others at stirring emotion.

Here’s why that matters. Emotion sells. It’s science—decades and decades of data and research prove it. According to Psychology Today, brain scans show that “when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences), rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).” Another study found that the most-shared articles from The New York Times are emotional stories. Still another found that ads with emotional content are twice as effective as purely rational messages. And so on.

The bottom line is, we’re all focused on media formats designed for scrolling and browsing and swiping. But brands should also be investing in media that are more conducive to emotional impact.

Here are five:


It’s hard to imagine Wieden+Kennedy’s Kaepernick campaign without the billboards. Almost all the media I saw about the campaign were actually photos of the out-of-home. W+K could’ve simply posted the image in social—and they did. But a massive billboard in the right place immediately says: “This is important. Stop and look.” And people did. The big canvas mattered.

Longer ad formats

Take a minute to watch this spot for Virgin from Lucky Generals. It’s worth your time and it makes a key point.

It makes you feel something, doesn’t it? And that feeling wouldn’t be the same if it were a :05 or even a :15. I’m sure the talented creatives at Lucky Generals have a :30 in the hopper, and as good as it will be, it won’t be quite as good as this. Every year, the Super Bowl spots that stand out are the ones that are a minute or longer. So if you’re going to take the time to craft filmed advertising, go long.

Long-form films

Branded entertainment is another good vehicle for connecting emotionally with an audience. At LG’s in-house agency, rather than rely solely on short-form ads, we’ve produced a six-part documentary series about some of the most intense—but less well-known—rivalries in college sports. It’s a lot more work to make half a dozen 20-30 minute films than a 30-second spot. But you can tell richer, deeper, more impactful stories when you’ve got more time.

LG Presents: The Rivalries “Melee On The Bay” – Episode #3 :60 Trailer

Immersive or bespoke digital ads

Digital publishers are getting better at incorporating ads into the flow of content. Here’s an example unit from The New York Times app. Rather than cram the ad between paragraphs, it exploits the entire screen—just like a full-page ad in a magazine.


I’m not sure what it is exactly about this medium, but podcasts have proven remarkably effective for brands. Maybe it’s the intimacy of audio, or perhaps it’s because they’re tailored to people’s interests. But this nascent media is creatively coming into its own and presents another way for brands to forge emotional connections with an audience.

By John Long

John Long has held creative leadership positions at Ogilvy, The Economist Group and Huge. He is currently executive creative director at LG’s in-house agency, HS Ad.

Sourced from Muse by Clio

By Christianna Silva

In 2021, a Facebook user filed a lawsuit because they didn’t think they were getting a fair shot at viewing advertisements. Wanting to see ads might seem absurd — if you’re anything like me, you want ads off your social media experience at all costs. Still, to a 55-year-old prospective tenant in the Washington, D.C. area, it was about more than a simple publicity blurb on Facebook. It, the plaintiff argued, had grave real-life consequences.

So Neuhtah Opiotennione filed a class-action lawsuit against nine companies that manage various apartment buildings in the D.C. area, alleging that they engaged in “digital housing discrimination” by excluding older people — like her — from viewing advertisements on Facebook. She alleges that because the defendants deliberately excluded people over the age of 50 from viewing their ads — something you could once do on Facebook — she was denied the opportunity to receive certain housing advertisements targeted to younger potential tenants.

“In creating a targeted Facebook advertisement, advertisers can determine who sees their advertisements based on such characteristics as age, gender, location, and preferences,” the lawsuit reads. The plaintiff alleged that rental companies used Facebook’s targeting function to exclude people like her because of her age, instead directing the ads to younger prospective tenants.

David Brody, counsel and senior fellow for privacy and technology at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which filed a brief in favor of the plaintiff, said in a press release that “Facebook is not giving the user what the user wants – Facebook is giving the user what it thinks a demographic stereotype wants. Redlining is discriminatory and unjust whether it takes place online or offline, and we must not allow corporations to blame technology for harmful decisions made by CEOs.”

The case was ultimately dismissed because the judge felt that online targeting of advertisements causes no injury to consumers. However, Ballard Spahr LLP, a law firm that focuses on litigation, securities and regulatory enforcement, business and finance, intellectual property, public finance, and real estate matters, said that the ruling could have a significant impact on how we view discrimination online.

“It seems likely to make it more difficult for private parties to attempt to bring lawsuits related to online ad targeting on social media networks or through methods like paid search,” the firm said. “But, secondarily, we wonder whether it will serve as a barrier to regulatory actions as well.”

Opiotennione v. Bozzuto Mgmt. is just one of many lawsuits against Facebook alleging discrimination. We already know how nefarious these ads can be, from spying on us to collecting our data and creating a world with further devastating partisan divides. But there’s something else harmful going on with ads online, particularly on one of the largest ad platforms ever, Facebook. According to Facebook‘s parent company, Meta, the platform has a total advertising audience of more than two billion people. Any one of them could be missing out on ads — for housing, credit opportunities, and other important issues that impact the wealth gap — due to digital redlining. Here’s why that’s important.

Wait, what is digital redlining?

Traditional redlining is when people and companies purposefully withhold loans and other resources from people who live in specific neighbourhoods. This tends to land along racial and financial divides, and it works to deepen those divides. It can happen online, too.

Digital redlining refers to any use of technology to perpetuate discrimination. It’s how The Greenlining Institute, a California-based organization that works to fix digital redlining, describes the practice of internet companies failing to provide infrastructures for service — such as broadband internet — to lower-income communities, as it’s seen as less profitable to do so.

That kind of digital redlining results in lower-income people having to turn to prepaid plans and other more expensive options for internet while also having to deal with slower speeds than those in wealthier — and often whiter — communities, which have a digital infrastructure. The Greenlining Institute isn’t the only organization working to fix this kind of digital redlining. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is also forming an agency task force focused on combating digital discrimination and promoting equal broadband access nationwide.

But digital redlining also refers to unfair ad-targeting practices. According to the ACLU, online ad-targeting can replicate existing disparities in society, which can exclude people who belong to historically marginalized groups from opportunities for housing, jobs, and credit.

“In today’s digital world, digital redlining has become the new frontier of discrimination, as social media platforms like Facebook and online advertisers have increasingly used personal data to target ads based on race, gender, and other protected traits,” the ACLU said in a press release from January. “This type of online discrimination is harmful and disproportionately impacts people of colour, women, and other marginalized groups, yet courts have held that platforms like Facebook and online advertisers can’t be held accountable for withholding ads for jobs, housing, and credit from certain users. Despite agreements to make sweeping changes to its ad platform, digital redlining still persists on Facebook.”

It’s not that digital redlining is more harmful on Facebook than it is on other online platforms, but, as Galen Sherwin, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, told Mashable, it’s “more prevalent in that Facebook is an industry leader and has such a huge market share here in this space.” Facebook says its algorithm treats everyone equally and the fault lies with its advertisers — advertisers that pay Facebook, and where the majority of its money is made.

“The fact that Facebook has offered these tools that not just permit, but invite advertisers to exclude users based on certain characteristics, including their membership and protected classes is tremendously harmful,” Sherwin said. “And even though there have been some steps to mitigate those harms and to remove the worst or most blatant of the ways in which the platform can operate that way in the housing, employment and credit space, there’s still a really long way to go before that’s eradicated truly from the space.”

Many activists agree that while Facebook has made moves to resolve its ad discrimination problems since a 2016 report from ProPublica, not enough has been done.

How does digital redlining work?

Let’s say a realtor group wants to only share ads for their homes with wealthy, upper-class people who live in upper-class neighbourhoods and exist within upper-class communities, or a restaurant wants to only share ads for an upcoming job opening to specific candidates. When that company chooses a platform like Google or Facebook to push out those ads, it will look for ways to siphon its ad coverage to those specifically targeted groups. Targeting tools on those platforms allow companies to choose who can and cannot see their ads. On Facebook, users can take two general approaches to creating a target audience: specific and broad. Specific targeting can lead to a potential audience that’s smaller, like parents living in Tucson, Arizona, while broad targeting includes categories like gender and age.

After many court-based struggles (we’ll get to that shortly), housing, employment, and credit have been deemed special ad categories. That means they have restricted targeting options in their ads manager. A company looking to place ads for housing, employment, or credit can still target an advertisement to a specific audience instead of just sending it out widely. Still, they can’t do it based on protected characteristics, such as age, gender, and where the potential consumers live. At least, that’s the goal.

Facebook wrote in 2019 that “these ads will not allow targeting by age, gender, zip code, multicultural affinity, or any detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics,” like race, sex, religion, national origin, physical disability, or sexual orientation and gender identity. Advertisers for these protected classes can also not use lookalike audiences, a way to reach new people likely to be interested in a business because they are similar to that businesses’ existing customers.

But is that enough?

Morgan Williams, the general counsel of the National Fair Housing Alliance, told Mashable that there are other aspects of Facebook’s platform that cause scrutiny and concern, despite the work Facebook has done. Research from October 2021 pulled from public voting records in North Carolina analysed the impacts of Facebook’s advertisements and found that it has discriminatory outcomes.

“This was true for both the Lookalike Audience tool and the Special Ad Audience tool that Facebook designed to explicitly not use sensitive demographic attributes when finding similar users,” the report read.

“If you were to provide Facebook with a set of names of contacts, [like] your client list, it would then target ads to Facebook users that were of a similar profile as your client list. And in engaging in that targeting, there were certain interest metrics that were specifically concerning, and that, from our perspective, would have segregated targeting of those ads,” Williams said. “In our settlement, we agreed to remove a number of those interest factors and simply allow Facebook to proceed with targeting on the basis of [things like] internet usage, but we still have concerns about this.”

Advertisers on Facebook trying to reach audiences in the U.S. with housing, employment, or credit ads can’t use the lookalike feature, but they can create a special ad audience. That’s an audience based on online behaviour similarities that doesn’t consider things like age, gender, or zip code. But activists argue there might be some shady ways untrustworthy users can target protected traits within a special ad audience, too. For example, you can create a custom audience target by using sources like customer lists, website or app traffic, or engagement on Facebook.

Special ad audiences allow advertisers to give Facebook a seed audience, and then Facebook selects other Facebook users who look like that seed audience. So, advertisers aren’t saying “show this ad to 27 year old queer people who live in Brooklyn,” they’re saying “show this to people like Christianna Silva” — and Christianna Silva happens to be a 27-year-old queer person living in Brooklyn.

Obviously, if your seed audience reflect a certain demographic, the matching audience will also reflect that demographic.

“Obviously, if your seed audience reflect a certain demographic, the matching audience will also reflect that demographic,” Sherwin said. “And while Facebook made some changes to that tool, it did not make significant enough changes and there have been studies since then that demonstrate that, essentially, the patterns of discriminatory output are unchanged.”

Facebook’s ad-delivery algorithm then chooses which users matching those criteria will actually see the ads based on predictions relying on a bunch of user data about who they are, where they live, what they like or post, and what groups they join. While this may seem harmless, it can lead to discrimination because data about who we are, where we live, what we live and post, and what groups we join are indicative of our protected traits.

Is this legal?

To be clear, targeting ads based on protected traits is illegal. Despite this, a 2021 study of discrimination in job ad delivery on Facebook and LinkedIn conducted by independent researchers at the University of Southern California found that Facebook’s ad-delivery system showed different employment ads to women and men, even though the jobs require the same qualifications and the targeting parameters chosen by the advertiser included all genders. This is illegal, but there’s confusion about how Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which is designed to shield platforms from liability for content that users post, and other civil rights laws apply to online ad targeting.

Sherwin, the senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, told Mashable that Facebook has been hiding behind Section 230 in its litigation. And while the ACLU mostly supports Section 230 and the protections it allows platforms, their position here is that “it doesn’t protect Facebook from this conduct because Facebook itself was the architect of the targeting tools.”

Changes have been made

To its credit, Facebook has made sweeping changes to its ad-delivery system.

A spokesperson for Meta told Mashable that Facebook has made “significant investments” to help prevent discrimination on their ad platforms. The spokesperson’s example was that its terms and advertising policies have “long emphasized” that advertisers cannot use their platform to engage in wrongful discrimination. That feels like a pretty weak point, considering that many may not read the terms and conditions. And, of course, it’s not so much a question of if the user reads the terms as it is whether or not Facebook is policing the rules in it own terms. Facebook says it is, but the platform is famously terrible at policing its own rules — just consider the way misinformation continues to spread on the platform.

Advertisers also can’t use interests, demographics, or behaviours for exclusion targeting. Since advertisers self-report on whether they’re posting ads about jobs and housing and the like, (obviously not a fool proof system), Facebook also uses human reviewers and machine-learning algorithms to identify the ads in case they are incorrectly identified. Meta hasn’t disclosed how well this actually works.

In the U.S., Canada, and the EU, people running housing, employment, or credit ads have to use special advertisement categories with restricted targeting options, including that they aren’t allowed to target by gender, age, or zip code, and must instead target a minimum 15-mile radius from a specific location, the Meta spokesperson said. But Facebook still gives housing providers the ability to target potential renters or homeowners by a radius of a certain place — which, according to the ACLU, is “a clear proxy for race in our still-segregated country.”

Are those changes enough?

The courts have forced Facebook to make plenty of changes. But many activists argue that the steps they’ve taken so far have been far too incremental.

In March 2019, Facebook disabled a feature for housing, credit, and job ads after settling several lawsuits, but algorithms still showed ads to statistically distinct demographic groups even following the move. For instance, one 2021 study showed that a Domino’s pizza ad was shown to more men than women, while an ad for the grocery delivery and pick-up service Instacart was shown to more women than men. The same audit also found that employment advertisements for sales associates for cars on Facebook were shown to more men than women, while more women than men were shown ads for sales associates for jewelry on Facebook.

In one lawsuit, which was dismissed, prospective tenants alleged that Facebook’s advertising platform excluded them from receiving housing advertisements because of their protected characteristics.

“While ad classification will never be perfect, we’re always improving our systems to improve our detection and enforcement over time,” the Meta spokesperson said.

In January 2022, Facebook began removing more targeting options related to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation. That’s because you can make some assumptions about protected classes based upon which political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation topics they “like” on Facebook. This is for all types of ads, according to the Meta spokesperson. Facebook also built a section of its Ad Library that allows users in the U.S. and Canada to search for all active housing, employment, and credit opportunity ads by advertisers and the location they’re targeted to, regardless of whether they’re in the advertiser’s intended audience.

Until Facebook’s appetite changes, much of the work lands upon the shoulders of activists and lawmakers.

“I think making the housing and employment opportunities searchable through the marketplace was one step forward,” Sherwin said. “That takes it out of the advertiser’s hands and puts some control in the hands of the user to affirmatively seek out opportunities rather than relying passively on the Facebook feed.”

Sherwin said it’s an “important step,” but acknowledged that Facebook hasn’t shown “any real appetite to crack the ad delivery algorithm.” After all, advertising income is the bulk of Facebook’s revenue. In 2021, the company made $29 billion through ad sales in the three months ending in June.

Until Facebook’s appetite changes, much of the work lands upon the shoulders of activists and lawmakers. But, hey, we can always delete our profiles.

Feature Image Credit: Mashable / Bob Al-Greene

By Christianna Silva

Sourced from Mashable

Sourced from NEWSY

Social media platforms are making much of their revenue off of advertising. So is there anything you can do to avoid seeing these ads?

If you go on social media these days, the second you get to scrolling you’re bombarded with ads. Then when you go to another site, you see the same ones.

Survey Monkey found that even though ads perform well on social platforms — with nearly half of social media users buying something from those ads — 74% of people think there are just too many.

But, that wasn’t always the case.

The first digital ad was an AT&T banner on hotwired.com, now known as Wired, which made its debut in 1994. For over four months, a whopping 44% of people clicked on it, which is definitely not something we’d see today. It was part of AT&T’s larger “You Will” campaign.

It featured futuristic commercials, where people were doing things like using a GPS or video calling, and their predictions actually came true.

It was something that hadn’t been seen before. People were even sharing the link to the ad with friends.

Facebook, now Meta, got its start in 2004, but it didn’t make its first ad deal until 2006 in a partnership with JP Morgan Chase to advertise credit cards. YouTube soon followed, launching ads on their platform in 2007. They first used transparent ads that covered the bottom of the video.

In 2010, Twitter introduced ads. By then, it was already a lot more common to see ads on social media. Instagram and Pinterest would do the same in 2013 and Snapchat in 2014.

Today, digital ads are nearly impossible to avoid.

According to a 2020 study, Facebook and Instagram show more ads on average than any other major social media platform.

For both apps, more than 20% of the posts users see on their feed each time are ads. For Instagram, that roughly breaks down to an ad every four posts or so.

So, is there anything you can do to stop seeing this influx of ads every time you open up your social media?

Reporting them is definitely not the way to go — one study found users who report ads see about 5% more ads than users who don’t.

But cutting down on some of the time you spend on these apps could help a bit. Instagram actually shows more ads to people who spend more time on their app.

Unfortunately, you can’t just turn them off; a lot of these social media sites rely on ad dollars to keep their business running.

In 2020, 97% of Facebook’s global revenue came from advertising.

A lot of companies prefer advertising on these platforms because it’s cheaper, and it works for them.

In a recent report, market research company Million Insights found the global social media advertising market was valued at $103 billion in 2020 and is expected to see an annual growth rate of 12.4% between 2021 and 2028.

Sourced from NEWSY

By John Long

Three ways to rediscover a critical brand asset

So many brands today sound exactly the same. And that’s because the advertising industry has mostly abandoned one of the most powerful assets a brand can have: a distinctive brand voice. Pick up almost any brand style guide, turn to the tone voice section, and I bet you’ll find some variation of these attributes:


All that’s missing from this insipid list is “useless.” Who would intentionally craft a brand that’s rude, pessimistic and phony?

Another “tone of voice” steer that pops up a lot in brand guidelines is this classic:

“We’re like that trusted, smart friend who always gives you great advice.”

Sorry, that’s not a brand voice—that’s a content strategy.

Everyone speaking in the same CLEAR and OPTIMISTIC tone giving HELPFUL, FRIENDLY ADVICE is making the work less effective. As Amy Kean observed, to their detriment, brands are all parroting the same vapid marketing speak. And this mind-numbing sea of sameness is obviously the opposite of what strong brands do. Because how a brand sounds is just as important as how it looks.

But there are a few brands that still understand how effective a tool brand voice is. And they’re getting noticed for it. Take Oatly.

Oatly is milk made from oats—it’s a bit of an oddball product. So they leaned into that weirdness and struck an irreverent, playful, somewhat sarcastic tone. And it’s worked. Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, it certainly stands out. And it’s pretty hard to argue with these results.

Now I’ll toot my own horn a bit—or I should say, David Abbott’s.

When I was leading creative at The Economist Group, I was determined to bring back AMV’s great “white out of red” campaign in social and digital. I couldn’t think of a reason why the iconic brand voice Abbott created for the brand—distinctly British, witty, and confident—wouldn’t work just as well as Instagram posts or banner ads. And sure enough, it did.

So how does one avoid the robotic pablum that’s taken over the industry and create a fresh brand voice? Here are three things to try.

  • A former ECD of mine, Cameron Day, had a particularly ingenious method. To create a brand voice, he combined two familiar, but distinct, personalities. A good example of this is the brand Cam came up with for a gourmet grocery store: “Dr. Seuss meets Dr. Frasier Crane.” So imagine a person who is deeply knowledgeable about fine foods—but delivers it with a dash of whimsy. Here’s what that sounded like. Delicious, yes?
  • Let’s go back to that helpful friend, the one always giving you good advice. To give that imaginary confidant a real voice, you have to ask yourself questions such as:

    Is your friend a man or a woman?
    Is she from New York or New Orleans?
    How old is she?
    Does she have a sense of humour? And is it the smart kind or a bit juvenile?

    In other words, you have to imagine an actual person. Brands are like people, and what makes people memorable and likable works for brands, too.

  • Replace that milquetoast tone of voice list with attributes that will give the voice some real character. And keep the list to two or three, not five. Doesn’t a brand that strives to be “irreverent, playful, and sarcastic” immediately seem more impactful than a brand that’s just “clear, friendly, and genuine”? Of course, you can’t just force random attributes on a brand. You have to unearth something about it that makes the voice seem inevitable. This is harder for some brands, to be sure—especially in certain categories—but it’s worth the effort.

Finally, I’d argue that brand voice is especially important in an era in which the business is more and more reliant on stock photography. If everyone is using the same pool of imagery, one way to stand apart from the pack is to give your brand a unique voice. Don’t settle for FRIENDLY.

By John Long of HS Ad

Sourced from Muse by CLIO