Integrated ads: how & why they work

Did you watch the Oscars? Or the Superbowl? Then you probably experienced the new integrated advertising phenomena without even realizing it.

Do you remember seeing someone in the room with a mobile phone or tablet, accessing an alternative backstage view, or checking stats or the IMDB database? Or maybe you were sharing the event long-distance via Skype or a Google Hangout? Welcome to the new world of integrated media consumption, aka multi-screen consumption.

Think about the combined impact of seeing the Oscars or Superbowl logo across all these screens. Those logos instantly tell you that you’ve found the “official” app for the event, regardless of device, right? You relax, knowing you have the right channel. At the same time, you’re being exposed to that logo over and over again, so the impact is much greater than that of a single channel.

Now think about the similar effect for a brand that chooses to sponsor an event and/or advertise across multiple media channels. They get the same effect. Affiliation and association with the event is stronger. When the ad content is contextual (i.e. is made specifically for the Oscars, references the Superbowl), the brand recognition, engagement and recall goes through the roof.

In a recent article, ESPN warns that, to be successful, “you have to have a lot of different creative. It could be the same theme, but if sports fans—particularly sports fans that are in the moment—see an ad two or three times, they are done with it. We encourage advertisers to have seven or eight different pieces of mobile creative. You should have 15 or 20 different digital pieces. When you’re creating content for video commercials, don’t shoot the 30s—think in terms of 10s, 15s, 30s, in long form, and see what you can do with that.” In other words, the audience tunes out.

The key to success with integrated advertising lies in a brand being willing to provide consumers a variety of content that falls within a consistent campaign and that extends the storyline. When a viewer encounters this kind of orchestrated effort, no matter which channel s/he turns to, the impact is exponentially greater. That’s why they work.