This video is more than funny, it’s the next trend in advertising

Being a male, there isn’t much I can relate to in this short video about a young girl faking her first period. But I can still appreciate the humor. But beyond the hilarity, there’s an interesting concept that indicates an emerging trend in advertising.

Publishers and advertising agencies are struggling to find solutions to an industry that appears to be losing steam. There was a time when families sat around television sets and provided a captive audience for advertisers, but today’s media landscape has changed dramatically. Media consumption has been increasingly fragmented, mobile users digest media in ever-shorter spurts, and the subscription-based model of companies like Netflix completely eliminate advertising as a revenue stream. How can companies gain the attention of consumers in an on-demand environment, where the audience controls the screen?

Without a captive audience, advertisers can no longer rely on the one-way approach, where ads are imposing and interruptive. Nor is it enough to trick consumers with “native” ads that look like normal content, but operate like a typical product pitch. For ads to gain attention, they must deliver something of real value. The right approach to native advertising doesn’t just look like interesting content, it really is interesting content.

The genius behind this video—a cleverly packaged promotion for HelloFlo—is that it never feels like an ad, and even when you realize it is, you don’t mind. This is because you genuinely enjoy and appreciate the content. The product message is embedded into the story—they want you to say “hey, this is funny, and that’s not a bad idea.”

This particular ad is designed to be shared online, and comes with a clickbait-style headline. People who don’t even need the product will share it with friends, simply because it’s funny—it’s up to almost 8 million views as of this post. But this could just as easily be a television commercial.

Despite what some are saying, traditional advertising is not dead. If that were true, the most expensive and talked about ad buy every year wouldn’t be a 30 second  Super Bowl spot. People love Super Bowl ads because they are entertaining. They’ve become part of the home viewing experience.

The particular medium for an effective marketing strategy depends on the audience, but it is clear that advertisers have to start thinking more creatively about how they bring value to the consumer, not just publishers or clients.

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