Sunday, November 29, 2009

Augmented Reality and Art & Copy

A while ago, I posted about the documentary, “Art & Copy” which hails Bill Bernbach’s industry changing pairing together of an art director and copywriter as a creative team.

During an interview on American Public Radio’s Marketplace with the director, Doug Pray, he talks about how advertising used to get done. He said, “In the old days of advertising, it was driven more by the account. And just information. It was all about you got a car, it does 12 new things this year, we just have to tell people about the 12 new things. And have a pretty picture. So you do the pretty picture. We'll tell them about the 12 new things.”

I was paging through the Dec/Jan 2010 issue of Dwell Magazine and I came across an ad for the third generation Toyota Prius. In this particular ad the reader is invited to 1) Install the Prius Experience iPhone App from the App Store and 2) Interact by taking a picture of said ad using the “interact” mode, then touch to see features and videos.

On Youtube there is a video of the Prius Experience App, “Draw”. The description says “The Prius Experience App has four modes to help educate and entertain iPhone™ users interested in learning more about the EPA-rated 50 MPG 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid. Admittedly the “draw” feature and corresponding Times Square promotion was kind of cool. But in general, while the Toyota ad is theoretically progressive and cutting edge, it’s really just a cheap trick and the content presented is still presented just like the days of old. The only difference is the medium has changed.

It dawned on me that perhaps we’ve gone full circle except instead of telling people the 12 new things about the car in the magazine ad, we have to lure them into going through the process of installing an iPhone application to tell them the 12 things.

So I wonder, are art & copy teams to be a thing of the “old days of advertising driven more by the account?” And teams will now consist of iPhone programmers and film producers and directors in addition to copywriters. What will it take for agencies to think about instead of “Advertising ideas → Ideas that you can advertise”, an idea wonderfully and simply illustrated in a presentation by Nick Emmel? The latter having to do more with producing engaging and relevant content. For reference, Toyota’s Youtube channel has had a little over 107,000 views. Contrast that with Ken Block’s Gymkhana 2 which is now up to 9.2 million plus views and I think you’ll see what it means to produce relevant content that people want to engage in.

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