Amid the constant barrage of last week’s industry news, there were two particular announcements that stood out from the rest. Both were creative related (albeit one is actually more of a social graph story). For the first time in a while, I was excited about some new creative potential, something that the industry needs really badly.
Richer Rich Media Units
For the first time in a very long time, a new rich media player is on the road to approval among major publishers. In some ways Pictela is no different than what exists today, and in other ways is a breath of fresh air. Their position statement is that “Pictela seamlessly distributes high definition brand content across online advertising, publishing and social media”. While intriguing that the units can run hi-def content, the ability for a consumer to discern the difference is marginal. The in-page units provide a multimedia catalog-like experience. Of course social sharing options are built into the platform (is there any other way at this point?) I do like the fact that Facebook has approved Pictela units to appear as is in the newsfeed. The units also provide the ability to deliver dynamic content based on geography and demographics, although I have yet to do my due diligence on the technology, and am unsure at this point how comprehensive that dynamic content delivery really is. I also do not know whether or not third party tracking tags can be embedded, but we’ll make the leap of faith that they can be, otherwise they will limit the opportunity to work with agencies at scale. All in all, it is nice to see a new kid on the block.
Facebook Open Graph Coming to an Ad Near You
MediaMind (formerly EyeBlaster) is running a campaign for Mountain Dew that incorporates the Facebook “Like” button in the ad units, a first for the industry. This sets the stage for advertisers to consider incorporating the open graph, which goes beyond the Like button, into ad units. Expect this to become a very common addition to rich media units in the not-to-distant future. The Like button, and other open graph functionality, is already fairly ubiquitous across the web, but within an ad unit as a primary or secondary call to action, it extends the ability to recruit brand advocates even further. Of course the bigger strategy for the brands is how to engage consumers and make the most of these new direct [social] relationships. Adding the Like button to ad creatives opens up one more pathway to the initial connection.
Media + Creative
As a career media strategist, it’s been bittersweet to watch the industry’s focus shift so much towards media dynamics. Of course, we should focus on how to better identify and reach consumers, and understand their relationships with the media. Heck, my career has been based on that. However, great media strategy, planning and execution is only as strong as the creative that runs. With the increased shift to data-based audience buying, media trading desks and automation of workflow and optimization, the creative conversation is rarely given its day in the sun anymore. Lest we not forget that one in nothing without the other.
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