Creating effective ‘advertising’ in the age of immediacy

by Nigel Hollis | May 11, 2016

We live in an age where immediate response is both enabled and expected. When we post to Facebook or Instagram we feel let down if no one likes or shares it immediately. But just because social media enable us to respond immediately, does not mean that what we respond to has changed, or that any less time and effort needs to be devoted to creating shareable content.


The Warc 100 post finds social engagement to be a growing trend and states that,

“Social media has increased its lead as the most-used media channel, with more than 80 percent of the Warc 100 campaigns using social in some way.”

Faced with this finding it might be tempting to assume that all campaigns need to be socially-led in order to be effective, but to my mind that is just as bad as assuming that all campaigns start from a great TV ad. Instead of starting with what media to use, effective campaigns start with what behavior they need to change. Once the motivation for change has been found then the campaign can be structured around encouraging the desired behavior.

It used to be that creativity in advertising was like art – you knew great advertising when you saw it – but now it is more like architecture – designed for a purpose - you know great advertising when it works as intended. This, of course, implies that you have to know what the advertising is designed to achieve and that you have defined metrics by which to judge success.

I believe that one reason that social is so popular is that it is so easy to measure and if people do care enough to talk about your campaign, then at least you know it has resonated in some way. The funny thing is that I am not sure that this is anything new. People have always talked about advertising that engaged them. Millward Brown’s Digital Behavioral Analysis finds that, just as with sales, there is a strong relationship between the brand-linked memorability of advertising and the degree to which a new campaign stimulates social conversation.


So talkability might be a leading indicator of success, particularly for less deliberative purchases, but for more deliberative purchases like electronics and automotive it would be far more reassuring if more people started search for the brand as well, rather than just talking about it.

All of which brings me back to the point that there is still no silver bullet when it comes to marketing. Volvo Trucks’ Live Test Series proved that viral and social marketing can be successful even for highly deliberative purchases; but that success did not come without some real insight, creativity and a huge amount of hard work. And the more marketers climb on the social bandwagon the higher the standards of success will become. What do you think? Please share your thoughts. 

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