In 1941, Bulova Watches broadcast the first television commercial, during the lead-in to a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. Bulova had every chance of striking out because no brand had ever pitched its products through TV advertising and there were only 4,000 TV sets in New York at that time. But Bulova stepped up to the plate and became the first brand to break new ground in television marketing. The 10-second commercial hit on the concept of connecting with people through media content and brought other brands into the TV marketing game. That pioneering promotional spirit still plays a major role in marketing today, as the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry continues to score with audiences by connecting through new and novel content. In fact, many CPG companies are coming up with concepts right out of left field, but they realize that modern marketing is a whole new ballgame and that content is the only way to stay in the game. For a play-by-play on how CPG brands are making content the MVP in marketing campaigns, Mashable.com featured a report by Contently that tossed out an all-star lineup of brands’ greatest content marketing hits.
More than 70 years after that brave Bulova TV commercial, it’s hard to believe that television was once uncharted advertising territory and that brands were wary of taking a shot at a spot. Today, that same hesitation has been felt by some CPG brands as they consider content marketing on non-traditional channels, while other brands have been open to new opportunities and warmly welcomed the challenge. Either way, the CPG industry knows it needs to evolve with the times, even if that means it’s time for brands to change their thinking and become publishers instead of promoters.
The CPG brands that are making the most of new marketing methods are getting creative with their content. They’re stepping out of their comfort zones and diving into new digital concepts that transform their tried-and-traditional ways into new, non-conventional connections.
One CPG brand with refreshing ideas is Coca-Cola. Their Content 2020 approach applies the art of storytelling to connect with older consumers, while using more modern microsites to share content with teens.
Another innovator is Oreo, which proved to be a smart cookie when it came to real-time content marketing with their timely tweet released during the 2013 Super Bowl blackout. Rather than publish a magazine that gets old the moment it’s new, the brand challenged itself to create 100 different pieces of content in 100 days, all based on the pulse of pop culture.
According to Red Bull, the CPG brand is really a content publishing empire that just happens to sell a beverage. They currently capitalize on nearly every multimedia channel available and have a publishing house with 135 full-time employees. They have produced more than 100 online videos that have earned at least one million views on a top-rated YouTube channel, along with a film that topped the iTunes charts in 2011. Their magazine, The Red Bulletin, has nearly 5 million paid subscribers and is available online, in print, and through an iPad app. The brand also boasts a record label and a film studio. Yet their greatest content contribution was The Red Bull Stratos campaign, which dropped daredevil Felix Baumgartner from space. That legendary leap set a new YouTube livestream record with over 8 million views, in addition to generating 2.6 million social media mentions and over a half million new Facebook fans.
And the most effective branding video of all time was Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches video. Its goal was to create content that would help women realize their beauty. The campaign was based on Dove research that revealed how women were their worst beauty critics. This led to a content concept where Dove asked women to describe their appearance to an FBI sketch artist—but the women were unaware that the artist had previously drawn them based on the descriptions of others. In a side-by-side comparison, the drawings based on the outsiders’ perceptions were much more attractive than those drawn from the personal descriptions. It showed women that they are more beautiful than they realize. The video went on to receive 163 million views worldwide.
As you can see, content is still king for CPG brands, but the way brands convey this content needs to evolve with the times and the trends. And that means shifting the focus to content creation that plays to the needs of the modern consumer.
MDG Advertising, a full-service advertising agency with offices in Boca Raton and New York, NY, is one of Florida’s top branding firms. MDG’s capabilities include print advertising, direct mail marketing, branding, logo design, creative, digital marketing, media buying and planning, radio and TV advertising, Web design and development, online video advertising, infographic development, email marketing, content marketing, lead generation, social media marketing, and SEO. For the latest trends in advertising and branding, contact MDG Advertising today at 561-338-7797 or visit mdgadvertising.com.
Written by Michael Del Gigante