Advertising will never be the same. You’ll lessen any confusion you have if you simply go ahead and throw out your concept of what promotion and celebrity was before 2010; it’s an outdated idea. Understanding who and what’s hot is like attempting to lasso a comet; you might be able to predict it but the slightest deviation will throw you far off course and it could pass you by in a fleeting moment. The prominence of new media (websites, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) is interwoven with traditional media and at times seems to even overtake it. Conde Nast’s recent campaign for Lincoln Motor Company exemplifies how different, original, and creative this type of integration and evolution can be; as well as incredibly successful. The playing field for celebrity has never been more level than in current day. Chances are that who you view as being important has more to say about your own individual interests than your age, race, gender, or nationality…and the diversification is staggering.
Consumers are not oblivious to branded content being used as a sales vehicle. However, in the same way that older generations are less apprehensive to divulge personal information, most people under thirty-five have a completely different sense of what is private versus public. The bluntness of presenting a product for sale does not resonate as much as a sense of emotional connection. Conde Nast created documentary style productions featuring individuals from various backgrounds who have forged a path for themselves by speaking in their own unique voice rather than traversing one that was dictated to them. These were then presented on various websites and YouTube channels. Vanity Fair displayed the Oscar Award-Winning Director of Moonlight Barry Jenkins discussing how his time in Miami influenced him in the making of his award-winning film. Bon Apetit presented award-winning New York City chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Seamus Mullan (known for his inventive and approachable Spanish cuisine). Internationally renowned (and internationally influenced) textile designer John Robshaw was featured in content for Architectural Digest, and Will Holland (British musician, DJ and record producer) was presented by The New Yorker discussing his performances at music festivals across the globe.
There’s no subconscious maneuvering in this branded content; the relationship between travel and finding one’s own place is obvious. People are not moved by data but rather by the witnessing of others achieving their own dreams. There’s a transference that happens in watching these professionals and realizing that if they discovered the means to manifest their goals, so to can each of us. Producer Melanie Roy oversaw all four of these documentary-style presentations and communicates, “It’s an exciting and creative area to work in right now. We are at a time when we are encouraged to be highly creative in our process. We simultaneously must insure that both the client and the influencers feel that their message is being communicated. Everyone is invested in the process and it’s not just about selling; it’s about telling stories.” The response to this template has been overwhelmingly positive. The productions are substantive and offer real entertainment, information, and marketing simultaneously. While not completely altruistic, it presents a relationship that seemingly satisfies all involved parties, and that is not something which occurs every day.