As a writer in advertising for 12 years now, there have been countless times that I've had to ask myself the question: What story is this brand telling? Unfortunately, even when a writer does identify a killer brand story, by the time most ads are consumer-facing that story has been watered down to a few incoherent tags mocked up in font that abides by a pat style guide and some predictable product shots. The end result leaves consumers (and truthfully, the client too) wondering what happened to the meat of the story.
Where's the disconnect? Well, my opinion is that much of the problem lies in the traditional ad agency model and inherently dysfunctional agency/client dynamics. But I won't go too far with this topic, because that particular battle just isn't sexy to me right now. Instead, I offer hope for the future of ads in alternate business models and companies like Story Worldwide.
Story WorldWide is all about this post-advertising moment that we're currently in. They see that the brands with the best stories right now are the brands that are winning, because people want to hear those stories. So by creating content and media that captivates audiences, Story Worldwide is bringing consumers and brands together by choice, instead of force.
That sounds so utopian to me, I'm in love. *Sigh* So Story WorldWide is one fresh business model for sure. They have the branded content thing down pat. But don't just take my word for it. Check out their blog called Post Advertising for more of their kick ass ethos and insights.
I'm also into Federated Media and just John Battelle (FM's founder) in general. He's pretty much a genius. If you're in media, content, or marketing you need to subscribe to Battelle's blog if you haven't yet. You will not be disappointed.
FM helps advertisers connect with a posse of the some of the best and most popular bloggers on the net (BoingBoing, Behance, and Ask a ninja are FM properties). So while it's not a content marketing agency like Story Worldwide is, it's similar in that FM is also bringing consumers together with content they like, to the benefit of both the advertiser and the blog author.
Send me some of your favorite new ad/marketing/media models too. I would love to see what your getting into.
And don't forget to check out my pal Matt Brand's latest joint, Relationship Retard. I'll be contributing to that site too.