That was a term coined by fellow strategist Carey S in a last minute could-have-been-manic-were-we-not-so-intentionally-mellow brainstorm this winter. We were talking about what it is that makes sports ads like Jordan's Clock Tower break through? What takes them from being watched in prime time to being chatted about around the water cooler?
Our theory: It's the respect they pay their audience. They way they bring us in and make us feel clever. The way they reward us for the silly trivia we collect, the seasons of television we watch, the unique perspective we each have on the world
CTC advertising generally falls into two categories:
#1 You're like us.
These campaigns connect with us on a passionate level. They unpack the big things we believe in and serve them up in dramatic ways. They are the corollary to an inside joke - the secret handshake that only people like us would know.
- Example: The Become Legendary Campaign that W + K created for Nike/Jordan. The fourth in the series was this Clock Tower spot ("No Cinderallas") that played in the runup to the tournament and left big proud fans welling up on couches around the country:
- Example: The Economist. Although BBDO's long-standing well-written in red campaign is probably the clearest example, even the newer campaigns target the pride in target readers. The idea that their sense of savvy and their curiosity make them part of an elite group of global citizens. The sense that they are truly banded together by difference.
#2 You remember.
It's rewarding to be the first one to figure out the puzzle. To trump your sister by guessing the identity of the murderer halfway through the new episode of Law & Order. To run the board at the annual holiday Trivial Pursuit match.
These "you remember" ads engender similar competition. They tease and hide just enough to make us want to guess it first.
- Example: HP's delightful Personal campaign developed by Goodby, Silverstein and Partners that features a celebrity's hands revealing their online life. Only at the very end - after glimpses and clues - do we find out who's online life it really is.
- Example: Discovery Channel's I Love the World brand ad created by 72andSunny. Yeah, it's wildly addictive music, but behind that is the montage to rule all montages. Places, shows, animals. Any number of things to competitively guess at from across the living room. Hey, wasn't that the whale from season 4....?
How it's social: A fellow traveler at Bridge Worldwide has been writing a lot about "marketing with meaning" these past weeks. A concept that may sound philanthropic, but is really just social. It's about creating engagement and content & experiences that people actually want, rather than forcing our messages into aggravated ears.
If you should go looking around online for people's comments about the Jordan spot, you'll find mentions of shivers, of welling up, of wanting to get out and practice. For the Discovery Channel spot, texted sing-alongs. For HP, personal takeoffs. The list goes on. The engagement in these "crack the code" campaigns is truly emotional. Pride, joy, curiosity. Uniquely human. Perfectly translated.