if you (just) post it, they will (not) come

During my morning perusal of AdPulp, I came across the news of Ogilvy’s new advertising pitch for Tassimo coffee makers…which is going to consist of webisodes and a consumer-generated contest:

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“Creating original, entertaining content gives Tassimo both cultural currency and permission for further conversations with consumers,” said Joseph Frydl, director of Ogilvy’s branded content and entertainment group. “Purely interruptive marketing simply cannot accomplish that.”

Beyond the fact that these webisodes, which has acting and production values that make it look like something that ran on my high school’s internal television channel, just aren’t original or entertaining, the idea that some webisodes, a website and a promotional overlay will start conversations with consumers is simply wishful thinking of the sort that somehow seems to convince clients, but reasonable people know are just empty words.

Even if we assume that the creative execution and promotion are relevant and compelling to the target, how, exactly, is said target supposed to hear about all of this online content? “If you post it (on YouTube), they will come” just doesn’t hold water, as the 49 total views that the video has gotten in its five days of being posted on YouTube show.

That “interruptive marketing” that gets derided in the press release is critical to telling consumers why they should go online and search out a specific piece of content. There is so much content online, and there are now so many brands who are doing the “webisodes and consumer generated contest,” that consumers need a compelling reason to get involved.

Tassimo not only hasn’t give them a reason, it doesn’t seem like they even think that building awareness is even worth their time. That is a bad move.

And this is a bad, unoriginal and poorly-produced idea.

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6 responses to “if you (just) post it, they will (not) come

  1. I’m constantly baffled by the fact that agencies think they can put together some mediocre videos, throw them on the air, and call them “branded content.”

    There’s plenty of cheaply produced content currently on TV that doesn’t rely on someone trying to create characters or clever writing. (Think HGTV’s entire line-up of real estate and decorating shows featuring real people.)

    Again, it’s the misplaced notion that what works for a brand in category A will work for a brand in category D, no adjustments necessary.

    I’d also venture that an unknown brand like Tassimo has a much harder time getting traction (or recall) for its branded content (no matter how well done) than a known quantity. In other words, I’d remember Mr. Coffee sponsored the webisodes if I liked them. Tassimo might just blow past me if I had never heard of them.

  2. Two quick points:

    A) I thought Tassimo was branding themselves at Upscale, luxurious & indulgent. Those videos don’t embody any of that. Unless they’re talking about the creative team’s personal motivations.

    B) what the hell does “…gives Tassimo both cultural currency and permission for further conversations with consumers.” mean? Cultural currency? Yeah, in 2002, MAYBE.

    And permission for future conversations? Permission to market their product? I’m starting to believe in English as the official language but not because I’m scared of brown people.

  3. This is what you get when you have ad oriented people producing content. While I feel strongly that branded entertainment is the wave of the not-so-distant future, it must be entertaining (FIRST) and yes, people have to find out about it.

    In fairness to Oglivy, this is all still in ‘test’ mode right now. My opinion is that the content needs to be produced and THEN (ironically) you need run TV ads to get the word out about it the show! Despite the popularity of DVRs TV commercials are still a critically important way to reach people. They do it for movies, they do it for TV shows – and these types of programs should be no different in that respect. Its a flaw in the thinking of almost everyone that ‘internet products’ can be successful using internet marketing alone. If companies like AOL and Yahoo and a host of other PRIMARILY internet compnaies have had to advertise on TV to drive traffic, so does everyone. Its simple.

    So (you’re asking) if that’s the case, why wouldn’t they just spend the money to run ads for Tassimo in TV? Well, they could but people will tune out faster than an ad for a new show (trailer) IMO. Think about it. Which might you be more likely to watch – a trailer for a show (think of the CHUCK thing) or an ad for a coffee maker?

    I applaud Ogilvy for being willing to try and ‘put it out there’. Its a learning curve but i think things will be coming around pretty soon.

  4. @mpaige: You raise an excellent point. It’s that whole “they’ll just be flipping around the internet and find it” mentality.

    That and “I’ve done TV commercials. I can write a comedy show as good as a screenwriter.”

  5. Branded entertainment ought to be a breeze for any skilled writer. You don’t have to sell. You just need to entertain.

  6. Pingback: more thoughts on tassimo’s webisodes « the daily (ad) biz

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