What Is An Advertisement, These Days?
When you think about traditional advertising, it was once pretty simple. You saw a television advertisement spruiking the benefits in a 30 second window – telling you to buy the drink. You drove past a billboard – telling you to drink the drink. There was a sports star – drinking the drink…
When it comes to finding the right voice and medium for a brand, product or service, marketers have a raft of options available. There are the age-old above-the-line channels, there are the targeted below-the-line channels. But as always, lines are a blurrin’, and what was-once considered an ATL brand-ambassador is now much smaller. And much more targeted. This is where digital strategy is providing new input to marketing and influencer marketing is taking off.
The Influence of Influencer Marketing?
For arguments sake, let’s just say corporate credibility is non-existent. When it comes to consumer confidence, big brands saying the same things, the same message, over and over – it’s gotten old. Now combine that with the decline of traditional advertising (people fast-forwarding through TV adverts, increased streaming services, online media consumption, etc) and the increase in social media identities, new opportunities await. Markers can spread their message via more authentic channels (and people). Smaller and lesser-known in the global sense, but highly respected in a local market, these social media identities have authentic reach. Even if considerably smaller than the Kardashian’s.
If you’re not sold on the rise, just look at this Google Trends graph of “Digital Influencer”, “Digital Influencers” and “Influencer Marketing”.
What does this mean for traditional advertising?
Marketers and brands will continue to spend on big budget ATL campaigns. But with an increased appetite for bang-for-buck and growth-hacking, there’s a new wave of marketers who are looking to get an eye-ball on their product via a new back-door opportunity.
Back-door opportunity, you ask?
Advertising in Australia has some rather strict requirements that state an advertisement must be identified ‘to be an advertisement’. I was recently approached by a beer brewer – basically, they were happy to send me a slab in exchange for me posting something about it on my Instagram.
So is this an advertisement? According to the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), here’s what they say:
Where there is no “stipulation that she must post comments about the products on social media”, “any resulting communication is not considered to be advertising or marketing communication”.
Other examples from their Best Practice Guide, state if “the in influencer <is> to post content on social media where <brandXYZ> retains control over the content”, then “That content is likely to be considered a marketing communication and must be clearly distinguishable as such to the relevant audience, for example a tweet could include a tag <@brandXYZ> #ad or if there are a series of connected tweets in a short space of time, the final tweet could include a brand tag e.g. <#brandXYZ> #ad or similar wording.”
And the last example from AANA:
“Where the <brand> has a reasonable degree of control over the statements the personality may make and the <product> is provided on the arrangement or understanding the personality will post commentary on social media, the content is likely to be considered a marketing communication and must be clearly distinguishable as such to the relevant audience.”
However, if you’re a marketer and you just send stuff, where there’s no obligation, it’s pretty much clean cut. It’s not advertising. The real determination is IF you’re asked to say something OR you’re just given stuff with zero terms.
Like or loath these rules, this is the game we’re playing.
If you’re looking for a new way to try and gain traction with new audiences for your product, be sure to get in touch with the Impress!ive team.
See the full AANA Distinguishable Advertising Best Practice Guide for yourself.