As you probably know from your own experience, 90% of web interactions start with search*.

Apart from e-commerce, people search the Internet for two reasons: information and entertainment.

No-one goes to the Internet looking to be sold to. They are not looking for an advert (unless it’s an informative or entertaining advert they’ve been told about or want to share with their friends).

  • When you watch TV, do you get up and make a cup of tea during the ad break?
  • When you watch pre-recorded shows, do you fast-forward the ads if you can?
  • When you do a Google search, do you click the results in the natural/organic (free) listings rather than the (paid) ads at the top or bottom?
  • When you’re online, do you avoid looking at the ads in the top banner or right side bar?
  • Does it annoy you when ads (sponsored posts) appear in your social media newsfeeds?
  • When you watch YouTube, do you click to ‘skip ad’ as soon as possible?
  • When you play free games on your smartphone, do you get irritated while you wait for the ad pop-ups to disappear?

We marketers are consumers too. If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of the questions above, you can bet that the customers of your clients feel the same way about the advertising messages that you are trying to communicate to them.

It’s no longer the ’70s and ’80s advertising heyday, when the advertisers wore bright bow ties and big red glasses, and made ads that were “better than the programmes”.

So what are the current trends in advertising?

Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian, believes you have to make your ad entertaining, interesting or beautiful, and insert it within an appealing programme, just like the old days. To read his blog post about ‘native advertising’, see

Guess what, he’s recommending information and entertainment –just what people are looking for online.

Marketing Week reports that advertising has gone a step beyond brands paying for product placement in music videos. Now, advertisers are creating their own music videos from scratch.

Yet again, it’s about information and entertainment.

According to Unruly Media’s Viral Video Chart, 99/100 most-shared videos of all time are music videos. The most shared ad of 2012 was the ‘Needing/Getting’ video by US band OK Go in a tie-up with Chevrolet, with more than 1.2 million shares across social media and 25.6 million views.

  • There were nine branded products in Lady Gaga’s Telephone’ video 2010
  • Arianna & Pitbull’s ‘Sexy People’ video features scenes from a 2012 Fiat commercial
  • Carlsberg released an interactive music video for solo artist Axwell in 2013

Dan Best, Planning Director at Unruly, says: “Some advertisers are beginning to realise overt branding doesn’t affect the consumer enjoying and sharing the content with their social networks, providing it’s emotionally engaging.”

Read the article at

*Source: Pew Internet and American Life project

This article was originally published on Marketing Lens in June 2013 (but the same principles still apply).

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