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Media and Communications

Borderlive, the new borders in advertising… | Paolo Iabichino | TEDxCesena

Borderlive, the new borders in advertising… | Paolo Iabichino | TEDxCesena


Translator: Michele Gianella
Reviewer: Muriel de Meo Good evening, I am not sure
whether it is meta-advertising but it’s a nice way
to do advertising these days, it’s a nice way to generate ideas,
to tackle creativity in advertising to talk about brands and products that we deal with on a daily basis. While preparing this speech
I found myself writing down this term as I was thinking about the borders
and boundaries of this job and I found ‘borderlive’,
which in fact does not exist: it unites, contaminates
the border with life. This is what we do nowadays surrounded by the many
borders of this job, the many perimeters and daily limits of creativity in advertising. Don’t let the word creativity
mislead you, it’s a trap… Creativity in advertising
has plenty of borders. As professionals, we are involved
every day in something very important, the collective imagination, and we’re somehow asked to tackle this job with briefs. I apologise for the English of this slide unluckily, advertisement
professional jargon is filled with many
English words that sound like: brief, insight, target,
budget, competitor, research, media, format, guideline. These are the many, too many constraints that creative advertisers face every day. Perhaps this is a new way
of facing creativity in advertising that many of us are already using especially in our agency – along with many colleagues,
mainly at international level, and we are learning
to take some of these borders and limits and to move them further away and to take a bolder step towards people. I will show you how some of these limits, those belonging to the creative talent, to who has to “think” creativity, insights, targets, media,
time, space, truth, if managed in a different way, completely change the planning approach. Thinking about these borders and limits, and trying to consider them
in a completely new and different way compared to the past, forces all of us to advertise
in a different way. If we keep talking about insight we will always deal with needs to be met, indeed, often needs
to be invented, induced. No one needs a shiny smile. That shiny smile of ads
is a marketing invention. People need a healthy and clean mouth. But at some stage,
a multinational company, at the sight of packed shelves, decided that in order
to be more convincing it would be enough to say
that your smile had to be shiny like the movie stars, otherwise you’d be a loser. We are learning to use cultural tensions as a subject of our communications. It means raising the bar of communication, dealing with people’s lives, it means looking outside our power-points and our meeting rooms, it means tackling topics
that are relevant to our communication. If you produce a snack, nutrition,
child obesity, are your problem, and you have to deal with that somehow. If you deal with beauty
and beauty products you need to demolish
some paradigms, to break clichés, you cannot keep talking to your audience using stereotypes. Women in ad, tipically, either is a 90-60-90 hottie or the feminine audience
will despise her. Women’s self-esteem must become a topic. This brand, through the campaign
on authentic beauty, finally features attainable models of beauty. Everyone can somehow listen to her own truth, through the brand communication. Of course some people also say – and I deem it a crime – that cellulitis is a pathology. But I prefer staying on this side, namely I’d rather deal
with cultural tension, get into it, and face
this topic with responsibility. Another limit of this job is the target. The target forces to adopt
a very precise planning approach. Target means that you: aim at; hit; kill;
aim at; hit; conquer. Addressing a target forces us to move
the communication in a certain way. Dealing with an audience, instead, changes completely the planning approach. Because I look for consent,
I look for an applause, I try to tune in with the audience in order to gain consent. And consent equals reputation,
reputation equals money, and there is nothing
philanthropic in this all. It is simply about doing this job
in a deeply different way. I ask my student to develop projects without the word target. Finding synonyms, audience,
interlocutors, people, citizens, you name it; but not ‘addressing
target clusters to destroy’. Because this is the only way to do ads
that people will chose. Amongst the 10 most visualised
videos in 2014, 4 were ads. Do you realise that? Millions of peopledecided
to watch an ad? It means that it is not true
what we do is bad. Not true. If we manage to spread
important communication topics, and the brand is plausible
in making that kind of statement, and is able to entertain its audience rather than pushing it
into supermarkets at any cost, and people choose that brand. If the brand is able
to make people choose it, it somehow enters their lives in a slightly more relevant way and is doomed to stay for a long time because people end up
believing in that brand, for what the brand itself represents. The fate of the brand
and the fate of people walk hand in hand. The narrative matrix
of the brand and its narrative ends up resembling the tale of those who recognises
him/herself in that brand. Another extremely important border within our job has always been the media. Our ads end up on the media: tv, press, bill boarding, digital culture, the Internet, social networks,
– yes, social networks. They are called social networks,
meaning people have accessed facebook, twitter,
instagram in order to be in touch.Wecalled them social media, because that definition meant
that they were somehow used as media. Talking about narrative habitats
means to fully respect such spaces. And look, social network users put likes, follow brands, link brand communication in their feed. When you put a like on a brand page, the content of that brand appears
on your, on our existential feed like the partner, the wife,
the son, the colleague, the schoolmate who found us
and organizes a reunion dinner. Narrative habitat means being very aware of the existential nature
of that space. The brands that are learning
to perform this job better, are subsequently renewing
their communication. are brands followed by people for the quality of the contents
that they are able to feature. Which is not the apology
of products, functions and what advertising logics
have always been promoting. Narrative becomes something else,
it is shared, participated, it becomes entertainment,
it becomes many things, in order to speak
the same language of people. In Italy, there are over 4 million people
connected to the Nutella page, over 30 million all over the world. I do work with these people,
and I can assure you that: creating a little content
every day for this brand, forces you to think
with a different approach about the development of the idea. Look at Dolce & Gabbana, and the number of social networks they have in their ecosystem, as the smart ones call it. And for each social network
there is a different content, for each social network
there is a different grammar, the need to communicate constantly and keep in touch,
to have a dialogue with those people who have
somehow chosen that brand and brought it in their lives. And so, millions of people ask brands for a relationship, because eventually,
within such narrative habitats, if we think about our daily behaviour, 70 -80% of conversations
is about what we eat, we drive, about what we wear, our consumption choices
that we constantly display once they represent us in some way. But they’re no longer a status symbol. They represent us in a deeper way they represent us
because the brands we choose, at least some of them, also personify the matrix of our values. We identify ourselves with their story, their fate is somehow similar to ours. The concept of time and space… borders of advertising
up until some time ago. This has all been made possible
thanks to the maturation of the Internet, to an increasingly more
pervasive digital culture. Advertisement has always been confined within very precise times and spaces. The ad spot would last 30 seconds;
the pre-roll on YouTube lasts 15, billboards are 6 by 3, 70-100, ads on papers are one page,
which has a very exact perimeter. Therefore, time and space
have a certain influence on our job; to move within this new scenario and to try to cross that border
in a new direction, makes us say: let’s start dealing
with the audience attention not with time and space. Let’s try to grasp attention
but not like the ads used to do. Do you know that the etymology
of reclame (ad) is “to call loudly”? To call for someone’s attention
you had to shout. Of course you had to, given the crowding of communication,
the incitement overdose is so high that ads have to shout. There is always someone
who has to speak louder. Whereas attention has to do
with something memorable, not with memorising. Advertising has always asked
to memorise messages. Do you remember the ear worms
of advertisement…? If you try to remember, over the last 2 or 3 years
you will not find such an ear worm. You can’t find those: “Have a break, have a Kit Kat”,
nor “ah Bisto”. You won’t find it simply because,
at some point, it got harder to call attention in that way
and we learnt how to become memorable. Gaining attention through memorability means, for instance, to transform the poster of an online real estate agency claiming “searching for a home is easy,
search for a home in one click”. And these people
around airports and stations, thinking about the context
of display of the advertisement – it is notplanned, butdisplayed. Wars are planned, advertisement
can also be displayed – so they transformed this structure
in a tiny flat for homeless people because it is easy to say,
just search for a home online, when outside stations, big city airports there are so many homeless people. You can see that advertising
can change attitude towards the social context hosting it. This became a tiny flat that these local NGOs
manage every week, or 15 days in order to host homeless people. Hence, that promise made
by the ad acquires a new meaning. As a TED speaker would say,
it getsmeaningful. It acquires new meanings,
the paradigm falls apart. Ultimately there’s
the issue of truth. Truth, in advertising, has always been
a real border, almost a taboo. Let’s admit that: advertising and truth
have never got on very well some bullshit were said, and there will be more
to come for a while, let’s get over it. But I don’t want to give up this word, and I’m realising that turning truth
from a taboo to a need, clearly and definitely
changes our projects, gets us closer to people,
creating more confidence. Brands are doing this very well
in some of their projects. Think how controversial
the subject McDonald’s is. In the US it opened a digital platform that remains online for days, where people ask questions
over and over again… and answers arrive in real time from McDonald’s staff, the nutritionist… to address even
very controversial topics, as the McJob for example, and a whole series of themes. Then Domino’s did the same
in an important campaign… In Italy we have the Barilla campaign: when the problem of illegal hiring,
toxic waste disposal in the south caused several problems, they opened a completely
transparent platform showing people, using technology, where their tomatoes come from,
they accessed the factory. Wind has been trying for years
to impose the value of transparency, decided to start a digital magazine,
Wind Transparency. Every year there is a prize
for the most transparent companies, for start-ups working in this field, And there is no testimonial,
there’s no data plan; just the desire to talk
with people in a different way. Whether this is
meta-advertising or invertising, I do not really care, how this is or will be named. I am very interested in the attitude that we have towards creativity towards borders that are
slightly shifted towards people. In all fairness, there is
no philanthropism here. There is the desire to renew the field, maybe even to redeem it, reinvent it, make profit, because this job is about
selling something to someone. But profit can also be made
in a healthier way. I’d avoid the word ‘ethics’, because
I respect that word very much also. But I am convinced
that if we work in a new way, we will definitely renew the language of advertising, and maybe also improve the collective imagination
we mistreated for years. And in this logic, we are all winners:
the advertising creative wins, the company that invests wins,
and above all, consumers win. And this, in my opinion,
is the most important thing. Thank you. (Applause)

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