Ads that add value, and why we're all so damn tired

 
 

I stumbled on a big video last night from my favourite voice on the internet, @GaryVee. As in Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, and author of a majority of the most of game-changing videos,  podcasts, blogs, soundbites and snapchats I inhale without breathing on a daily basis. Every and anything marketing, digital, social media and start-up that Gary spouts about, I relate to or learn from in some way. 

The vid that struck me enough to wake up still thinking about it was from PRWeek’s 2015 Conference. It caught my eye because PR is precisely where Sarah and I cut our pre-Press + Post teeth as independent practitioners and full-scale traditional media junkies.

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And heck, before that I was a fulltime newspaper columnist, so yes, the integration of new with old, conventional vs. digital and all things forward-predicting is of utmost interest to me.

Here’s the part that resonated the most: No one – NO ONE – is paying attention to your ads.

Why? Because they’re stealing the one commodity from us that, in our insane 24-7, 365-day hyper-connected lives, is our most important currency.

It is time with our kids, it is time we’re not spending with our friends, it is time that could be spent (equally regrettably) tackling the 7,000 monkeys on our back or emails in our inbox in order to feel a little lighter, a little more in control of the runaway freight train that is career, parenting, marriage and more, all mashed into one crazy non-stop groundhog day called life.

No, time is no longer money. Time is freedom, happiness, balance. Time is travel, laughter, downtime, digital detox, racing around the kitchen island with my kids. Take time from me these days, and you might as well be sucking the limited air right out of my body, or making me feel as if I’ve chosen a session with Snapchat vs. a spot on the sidelines at my kid’s soccer game.

As I was stealing away my own precious moment of morning shower solace yesterday, I shared a quick laugh-cry with myself at the realization that in order to keep up as a modern day business owner, parent, wife and friend, I pull at least one all-nighter a week. And that if I don’t do a deep weekly catch-up that extends well beyond e-mail, v-mail and social streams and into the massively meaningful building, mapping, writing and strategizing-until-the-sun-comes-up session once or twice every seven days, life falls off the rails. Literally. I hate being behind, not getting to the important work and only playing maintenance, standing remotely still in business or watching the g-dam laundry pile up. Because the truth is, I’m far too anal not to keep an organized life, and far too impatient to flow along in a flatline.

So, equally resonating was yesterday’s post from Marketing Magazine, describing SNL’s decision to cut back on their advertising airtime in the year ahead, eliminating two entire commercial pods in their 90-minute broadcast.How to make up for the shortfall? By interspersing more sponsored content throughout the show. Where farcical Mom Jeans left us laughing, new brands will attempt to fill the void with real life embedded messaging, subtly weaved into skits or housed within their own clever clip.

The real question being, will it create more value for the viewer? It certainly does for the brands opting in, as by simple virtue of this being a new and unique in-program advertising move for SNL, it will resonate. For a while, anyway, and if executed well.

If, as Gary suggests, in-show commercial product placements and alignments don’t add value, offer insights, provide a laugh or simply make sense, then no.

Not only will we be tuning to a second screen as we currently do the moment a disruptive commercial airs on our TV, podcast, YouTube vid or Instagram feed, but we will be tuning out of the show altogether. Thoughts of Ford forcefully flooding The Amazing Race Canada come to mind, and winning Superbowl quarterbacks proclaiming they’re off to Disneyworld.

Risky for SNL indeed, but necessary. I can hardly wait to see it all play out, and who else follows suit in 2016.