Nike – The Switch

In 2016, the prevailing opinion about traditional advertising vs online advertising seems to be that traditional advertising ‘as we know it’ is dead. This is at once entirely true and absolutely unfounded. We are standing right now at the beginning of something more exciting than the heyday of advertising could ever have predicted. We can now produce much longer films than we could in the days of TV (anything longer than around 60 seconds is prohibitively expensive) and on top of this, we are no longer reliant on disrupting people; hijacking their attention while they are doing something they enjoy, watching TV.

Instead, we can create films, no longer just ads, that people actively choose to see. We have transcended simple disruption and are now firmly in the space of entertainment. This brand film from Nike is such a great example of it. Yes, they have the budget to feature some of the world’s biggest footballers (the jury is still out on Messi vs Ronaldo) but they’ve created a short film here that encompasses all of Nike’s core values that runs for nearly SIX minutes that holds your attention and gets you to invest emotionally. This is not trying to fit it all into 30 seconds or a minute, simplifying things and dumbing them down so everyone can understand it as quickly as possible.

Added to this, we have all the hallmarks of Nike’s smartest advertising. Nike is not a headline sponsor of the Euro Soccer 2016, (Adidas is, in fact) but Nike will make a huge ad like this just prior to the tournament and immediately everyone knows what it’s about. They haven’t needed to fork out loads of money to have their brand come up on billboards during the tournament, but they’ve created a huge splash that’s been gaining enormous traction. As of today (15 June 2016) the film has been live on YouTube for 14 days and has been seen nearly 35 million times. That means that 35 million times, people have chosen to find the ad and watch it for themselves. It hasn’t interrupted their lives or gotten in the way of something else they wanted to do (like traditional advertising) instead it has positioned itself as something people actively seek out, due to its entertainment factor.

This is nothing short of advertising wizardry.

So is traditional advertising dead? Yes and no. In terms of the media we use to tell our branded stories, things have changed immeasurably. Online advertising is more targeted, smarter, cheaper (generally) and produces real statistics and info about return on investment. But when it comes to telling a great story that people can engage with emotionally and get inspired by, things have never been better. All the great things about advertising we love are now on steroids. We can tell more engaging stories, over longer timeframes and we can be smarter about who we want to see them and why. Yes, this does place much more pressure on creatives – we need to create work that people would like to actively seek out, rather than something that would at best elicit a smile or chuckle in an ad break during your favourite TV show. But it means the possibilities available to us as ad guys (and girls) are more exciting than they have ever been before.

If you want to get involved and tell stories like this, our Art Direction course is exactly what you’ve been looking for. Learn more about it here.

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