Since the 1940s, advertising ideas have been brought to life by a small group of creative
people who are supposed to be – thanks to their professional background and personal
attributes – more creative than others.
These are still the elite few who drive the strategy of the big brands, with their vision and
experience. But something new has been happening…
The digital world has created a new vocabulary and given new meanings to old words.
Amongst other things it has brought the word viral into our lives: that mysterious
phenomenon that represents the holy grail of any video strategy.
More and more I see that videos that “go viral” are not the videos with the highest production
quality. They are instead videos that feature flats with Ikea furniture and a cheap floor. Their
locations are more suburban than urban cool. Their actors are good looking and nice, but
would never be cast for a TV commercial. I don’t think this is a coincidence. I think that people
engage with – and choose to share – what they identify with.
Who shoots these videos? Some of our filmmakers are real pros who have developed a
sophisticated and original directorial style, but many others are up-and- coming talents who
might be defined still as amateur.
And here we mean amateur with its original meaning – someone doing something because
they love it. Despite the view of some obsolete creative authorities, “amateur” no longer
means ‘bad’. Take the example of that famous “amateur” video for Adidas.
With curated crowdsourcing, anyone can join a project. Many of the thousands of filmmakers
who make films for the Userfarm crowd every year do it out of passion, not just for the chance
of commercial reward. The filmmakers choose to join a contest because maybe they feel
strongly about the product, or they really love the brief. This genuine passion and emotion
comes out in their sometimes imperfectly polished, but very engaging videos.
Brands may still need the advice of the high priests of advertising, but this is not enough any
more. Once it has defined its identity, a brand needs to open up to people – to the crowd. This
will enable the brand to create the sheer volume of content the digital environment requires,
and also to embrace the authenticity, warmth and realistic perspective of real people.
Branded content production can no longer exclude a wider crowd. Otherwise the risk is, while
trying to be exclusive, a brand becomes excluding.
By: Anna Cappellini