When it comes to creating edgy, noticeable content, it’s tempting to create something that looks obviously like an advertisement and be done with it. This kind of content screams propaganda for your client, and won’t do you any good. Consumers nowadays can smell blatant advertising from a mile away.

Colin Byrne, UK and EMEA CEO of Weber Shandwick, recently tweeted that Generation Z (the generation after millennials) “don’t want the bullshit“. I cannot stress how much this is true. If it looks like advertising trying to pretend it’s not, no young person will find any value in it.

Good propaganda doesn’t look like propaganda. But authentic advertising should admit that it’s advertising, and be funny and eye-catching enough to get around that stigma. It has to be original enough for young people to want to consume and share it.

A good example is the 2007 Cadbury spot featuring a gorilla drum soloing to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”. A frankly incredible work of art, the only indication during the video of any association with Cadbury is their signature purple color in the background. At the end, a Cadbury dairy milk chocolate bar does pop up with the tagline “a glass and a half full of joy”. This advert went viral because it caught people’s attention for not looking like an advertisement and for being so incredibly random. It ended up building up Cadbury as a brand with authenticity.

These are the kinds of ads needed to reach cynical young consumers, who will soon be voters and entering the workforce. Millennials and Gen Z are the market for the future, and we don’t like propaganda trying to sell us something. We want content that is fun to share and watch and view. This will help create a brand legacy that’s more effective than just pure obvious advertising.

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