I recently searched Pitbull on YouTube (don’t ask why I was searching for Pitbull) and I came across a great example of the future of advertising. One of the videos that showed up high in the search was Pitbull – Freedom. The video turned out to be an original song that featured the Norwegian Cruise Line’s ship Norwegian Escape. After watching this video, I realized that for several reasons it shows how advertising will look in the next ten years rather than how it has worked for the past one hundred (and how it works currently even in the performance marketing space).
By deconstructing the video advertising campaign, you can learn how to market effectively in 2016.
High search ranking
The first key to the success of this ad is that if you search for Pitbull on YouTube, it is one of the top-five results. Pitbull is a popular celebrity so will generate more searches than the Norwegian Cruise Lines. Thus, he provides exposure to a broader range of potential customers. In its first two weeks, the video generated more than 3.2 million views.
Many advertisers, especially in performance marketing, make the mistake that once they get you into the ad their job is done. By getting the click, they can point to a high CTR or a low CPI. The problem is that they often drop you into an advertisement that has nothing to do with the reason you clicked. While in a rare case they still might convert you to a customer, more likely you will leave quickly, generating no value to the brand. In the Pitbull video, you actually get a song and video consistent with Pitbull’s non-sponsored offerings. The fact that the video is consistent with your expectations makes it much more likely to engage potential customers and create the value the brand is pursuing.
Outside of Super Bowl ads, how many people really want to watch or experience an advertisement. This problem does not exist only in television but just look at the success of (and fear of) ad blocking software online. Rather than creating another advertisement that people want to avoid. Norwegian Cruise Lines created an advertisement people want to consume (40,000 upvotes versus less than 5,000 downvotes).
Not only do people want to consume the content, they want to engage with it. The video, again in its first two weeks, generated more than 2,100 comments. For comparison, I searched for Ford and came to a video of a Ford F-150 adalso released about two weeks ago, which was a traditional brand video. As opposed to Pitbull’s 3 million plus views, the Ford ad had slightly over 5,000 views. Rather than Pitbull’s 40,000 upvotes and 2,100 comments, Ford had 96 upvotes and 3 comments.
These numbers show the importance is not the distribution channel (both pieces of content are offered on YouTube) but the content. Ford simply used the same formula it has for almost 100 years in creating ads. Norwegian Cruise Line, however, rewrote the rulebook and created content for 2016. These numbers clearly show the Norwegian Cruise Line ad will have orders of magnitude more impact than Ford’s traditional ad on a modern channel.
The key difference in advertising today versus the past hundred years, or at least advertising successfully, is you need to create content that is truly entertaining. Consumers have thousands or millions of options of entertainment and they will not consume your ad when they can find something they like quickly and for free. Why watch the Ford video when you can watch an Adele video. Your ad has to be just as good and compelling as a pure entertainment product.
Brand marketing 2.0
It is easy for me to say television commercials are history but just as easy for someone else to say they will always remain predominant. Rather than just make the claim, I decided that the best way to compare the effectiveness of new age digital marketing versus traditional television brand marketing is to look at the companies creating the most shareholder value. As a shortcut to doing a full analysis, I searched for all the so-called “Unicorns”, private companies whose market value exceeds over $1 billion. The list, which can be found here, is striking in how few of the companies have had television ads (or at least ones that are memorable). There are 174 companies on the list but out of the 174, I have only remembered seven advertising on TV (Shazam, DraftKings, FanDuel, Machine Zone, Jawbone, Credit Karma and Airbnb). Among the ones who have not advertised (or at least enough that I have seen it), who I would say are doing pretty well:
Most companies would like to show the same growth that the 167 companies that do not advertise on television have shown. The answer is to understand how to market to the consumer in 2016, and Pitbull is helping to show the way.
- Pitbull’s promotional video for the Norwegian Escape cruise ship shows the future of advertising, as it is as much a music video as an ad.
- The key to advertising successfully now is creating content that is relevant, engaging and entertaining.
- Television is no longer a driver of success, as shown by less than ten of 174 Unicorns (private companies valued over $1 billion) are using it.