Blurring Lines, Part II - Brands as Friends

In our last post we talked about blurring the lines between advertising and entertainment, especially as it comes to how and where we’ve given permission to be marketed to.

But what does this mean for brands? It’s an opportunity to be more surprising than ever. Know your audience better than ever. Tell them a story better than ever.  And all for a lot less than it costs to run an ad on the night of the Super Bowl, with similar levels of effectiveness if done well over time.

Blurred lines looks like a potential customer's feed consisting of a picture of their best friends' new baby--followed right after by the newest outfit available from Anthropologie and then Taylor Swift’s new single being released.

And we didn’t think anything of it.

Stop and think about that for a second — It used to be that the show is getting good, it goes to a commercial break on a scene that’s gripped us — and we’re immediately annoyed by the ad that follows. We can’t fast forward fast enough.

But web, email, social media—scroll, scroll, scroll. Doesn’t cost us anything to get from the friends new baby to BMW to the latest fall trends in denim. 

Because brands have become our friends. They’ve blurred another line. They invite us in, tell us a story. By following them you are setting yourself apart as a “true fan” or “friend of the brand.”

Better yet, customers get to interact with a brand’s website/social/content/packaging. You never got to interact with a Super Bowl ad.

But that also means your content/social/packaging has to be good enough to make them take notice, rather than scroll faster. It has to speak to them and leave an impression or knit your brand deeper into the fabric of their life. It’s the most cluttered marketplace in history, you can’t assume they are watching.

And for the brands (regardless of the what — clothing, filmmakers, musicians or your favorite food) who have really taken the time to make us true fans, we don’t care that we’re technically being interrupted with marketing. In fact, we love it. We love being on the inside. The story we tell ourselves about being in the know, being the first, is better than any kind of reality that we might be being “advertised to.”