Is it even possible to stand out and get noticed through advertising campaigns anymore? Of course, but in an age where almost literally everything you could ever want to know about anything is available with a few keystrokes, you may need to use octopuses raining from the sky and threatening to destroy our way of life to get attention.
At least this was the idea that ad agency BBDO had for their client GE in an ad that hit various online and social channels earlier this month, and it seems to be a hit. The 60 second spot is called “Raining Octopuses” (of course), and launched March 11 as a paid spot on NowThis News and GE’s social channels. “The idea was that it would be raining something so unique and different, but it had to rain something really bizarre, and it had to disrupt,” said Andy Goldberg, chief creative officer at GE. So, an octopus.
As in disrupt the kinds of things that GE holds together, such as the power grid. This ad is a great idea and tackles what GE is all about from a different and unique aspect, which is how they are attempting to reach a new generation of people who may not be familiar with the company. The general idea isn’t that new, however. Quirky commercials have been around for decades. Anyone remember the eighties? Or more recently, my favorite ad from this year’s Super Bowl — Mountain Dew’s “Puppy Monkey Baby”.
Not only is the ad itself a new approach from the company, but GE is also trying out new social channels with its release, such as video site Hyper. “As the media landscape keeps changing, we have to keep changing sites,” Mr. Goldberg said. “We are looking at new distribution sites and new channels that might have the right content and might attract younger audiences that might not be aware of GE, are learning about GE and are understanding what GE is about.” For instance, does anyone under 20 know that GE stands for General Electric?
This ad, and others like it, are guideposts for anyone looking for advertising jobs in the future. Just like almost every other aspect in our evolving world, jobs in advertising will be different in a few years than they are now, even if that difference is only in the content. And the quirkier the world gets (and it’s pretty darned quirky already), the more unique the ads will need to be if they’re going to keep anyone’s attention. The other big lesson from this story is the expansion and re-evaluation of social media platforms and distribution channels. Remember, Facebook is only a decade old and Twitter less than that. Keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry will be vital in finding the right audience, particularly as the landscape keeps expanding.
But besides knowing what to keep a eye on to land the best jobs in advertising down the road, this story brings up another contentious, albeit unimportant and trivial point: octopuses or octopi? I’ll leave that for you to decide but here’s a hint: the answer is yes.