Recent Trends of Innovation in Advertising

Encourage innovation. Change is our lifeblood, stagnation our death knell.
– David Ogilvy

Innovation_Advertising_(3167296835)The advertisement industry is innovating at a breakneck pace. They must do so to survive. Their clients demand innovation as they go through a pace of change combined with a pressure to redefine, which is having significant impact on all business industries. In the post great-recession world, change is a do-or-die business imperative. If you need proof, consider the fact that 70% of the companies that were on the Fortune 1000 list a ten years ago have now vanished, as they were unable to adapt to change.

Print advertisement does not pay anymore and web based advertisement have to be much more attention catching the ever before.

As in many other industries, advertisement professionals seem to equate innovation with technology, but this is a mind trap, as we have written about frequently on this blog, for example in this article.

According to Adam Broitman, Vice President of Global Digital Marketing at MasterCard and a thought leader within the field, there are three main trends in the digital advertising space, trends that begin with ways of thinking, not new technology, and each trend encompasses a number of tactical flavours. The three most important trends in the ideation of innovative advertising concepts are:

  1. Platform thinking
  2. Brand utility
  3. Participatory culture

How the tactical flavours relate to the overall trends is illustrated in the model below.


So what does innovation in advertising actually look like? well, today´s best advertising does not resemble advertising at all. If we look at advertisement videos as an example, as Svetlana illustrated in this blog article last year, companies now sponsor making videos which seem to be more about corporate social responsibility than about direct branding.

Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, means companies aligning their values with a greater good and taking action to have a positive effect, and CSR campaigns seem to be everywhere these days. CSR marketing helps attract customers who may be more loyal because of shared values and beliefs, but every CSR effort must be genuine or people will spot its phoniness, and when they do they are sure to spread the word via blog or Twitter or Facebook.

Below are three excellent, thought provoking videos that are made more as short stories than as traditional advertisements. Take a look and see what you think. Do they promote the corporate brand well, or do they achieve the opposite? No matter, the videos are worth watching.

The first video is from the Whiskey brand Johnnie Walker and features the Scottish actor Robert Carlisle who talks about the history of the legendary whiskey. The Walk begins with a sole bagpiper playing in the Scottish highlands, with a backdrop of mist and smoke. Robert Carlyle walks into the picture and tells the piper to “shut it” before launching into his 5 minute narration of the Johnnie Walker story.

The Man Who Walked Around the World

The second video was shared to me by my wife last night. It is from Bombay Sapphire, a premium brand of gin, and it plays out like a claustrophobic horror story, highly watchable and thought provoking, with the story showing that reality may not always be what it seems and what may seem to be opportunities to escape may in fact lead to far worse entrapment. It is one of five films based on the same script that formed part of Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series in 2012.

Room 8


The third film is my favourite of the three. In a video from the bank UBS, David Coulthard asks himself a question that often cross my mind, if business leadership and constant travelling is compatible with being a good father and husband. This video is optimistic and brings an encouraging message to the viewer.

Am I a good father?

So, dear reader, what do you think? Is innovation in moving picture advertisement leading us into a new art form of storytelling through short films, and are they effective as brand communication, or is this good art but a waste of money for the sponsors?


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