Monday, April 23, 2007

The Engagement Model

Christie Brinkley (becomes relevant later)

Traditional advertising is dead. The way forward, rather than interrupting consumers, is to create compelling content that they will want to engage with.

Or is it?

Let's look at two examples.

First of all, Qashqai Car Games, created by TBWA.

This is an absolutely brilliant site. They've created an entire fictional sport, a kind of urban Scalextric but with real cars, and created genuinely funny short films profiling some of the events, drivers and teams involved in it. There's so much detail there, and the standard of design, writing and direction are all first-class.

But the site is only the 387, 125th most popular on the internet. In fact there are 17 ad blogs that have more traffic than Qashqai! Its daily reach is just 0.004% of the internet audience. Any media company achieving that kind of reach for its clients in traditional media would surely be fired on the spot.

Secondly, Bud TV. The content on Bud TV is a bit shit. I quite like girls in swimsuits, but even I was struggling to stay awake halfway through the 'exclusive' footage from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Launch Party (Including interviews with the models!) sample model opinion: "I looked up to Christie Brinkley, so to be in this issue is just crazy for me."

Surprise surprise, Bud TV is tanking. The complicated sign-up process is held partly to blame.

But I've got another explanation.

You see, I just don't believe that people who are looking for entertainment want to go to a beer website or a car website to get it. They want to go to an entertainment website, e.g.

Maybe I'm a lone voice in the wilderness here, but just maybe the interruption model is not dead.

I'm sorry that TV airtime has become more expensive, and that mass audiences are harder to reach, I really am.

But the solution is not to create a website that nobody goes to.


SchizoFishNChimps said...

I haven't seen any research that will support this view, but I reckon that more eyeball time is being taken by social networks than by single websites. That's just pure theory on my part, but it may partly explain why your examples performed so poorly.
Without an effective way to advertise on social networks en masse, brands will resort to good old fashioned media.

Anonymous said...

It's not either or, it's both.

1. You need a great idea

2. You need to execute it online

3. You need to promote it using mass media

This allows you to drive traffic to the site and generate that much talked about engagement.

Damiano said...

Engagement means they are interacting with something. Fishnchimps is right. It's social networks that are the killer app. People are compelled to return to the site again and again as they are getting something 'they didn't know they needed'. That will obviously boost any ranking and generate success and more ads whether banners or branding. Read this link.Success breeds more success. also look at and how it gives away great content with car branding, both profiting from each others brands but very engaging site mostly promoted by WOM and blogs.

Damiano said...

Check this out - Visual pic of it all. Will post it on my blog.

Damiano said...

Check this out - social networking about to overtake porn on the net.

Anonymous said...

Ed's 3rd point is absolutely key. Traditional advertising is needed to drive traffic to the web site where, if the idea is good enough, the consumer will engage and keep coming back. The best examples of this are still coming out of the States. Stuff like

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Doesn't it just come down to content that's good enough?
A Nike computer game won't be loved anymore than an EA Sports game unless it's better.

And as for Ed's point three, damn straight. Ads for ads.

Anonymous said...

Still, you could end up here:

Anonymous said...

the problem with both of these ideas is that they're "campaigns" - they appear while the marketing department is interested and then they drift off. why would anyone want to "engage" with a "campaign"?

Anonymous said...

If you have an idea and you promote it using virus marketing you'll get traffic to the site.