In fact, seventy percent of us usually watch the Superbowl just to see the commercials – those clever and frequently serialized stories that (they hope) grab us and make us talk about them the next day as we’re standing around in a group waiting for the Keurig to spit out the last little bit of our morning brews.
I’m not a Bud drinker but I confess I talked about that adorable wee lost, plucky Lab puppy way too much afterwards. And in the process I’m sure I must have mentioned the brand each time to friends and colleagues. And did I just link to it in this article? Well, yeah. Good job, Budweiser. You had me at
As good as that was, Marriott has just raised the bar.
Perhaps daringly pushing against research that shows that the average person has a shorter attention span than a goldfish (no kidding), Marriott has created a short live-action film feature called “Two Bellmen.”
It’s a high-budget, tongue-in-cheek, well-scripted-and-acted featurette that takes place in a Marriott hotel. The film subtly highlights the brand without shoving it down the viewer’s throat.
I watched it solely because of this quote by the film’s executive producer, David Beebe, Marriott’s vice president of global creative and content marketing:
“People don’t watch 30-second spots anymore. They connect with great stories.”
[that sounds familiar, eh, fellow fundraisers?] But that wasn’t the part that got me. It was this:
“Our approach is that as brands, we need to stop interrupting what people are interested in, and become what they’re interested in,” he said.
Wow. That grabbed my attention.
It’s a paradigm shifter.
In the past, brands have always tried to tell stories in a 30-second advertising format: “Here’s why our product is great.” Then they created banner ads on the web (annoying). Then pop-up ads (even more annoying).
Have we done the same sort of thing in the fundraising sector? “Here’s why our nonprofit is great (in 30 seconds).” Popping up and advertising, but maybe not telling a compelling story.
Do we ever do the same thing in prospect research, relationship management or analytics? We’ve got great stories to tell – about the power of data and information. About new potential donors that we’re dying for fundraisers to meet with.
Are we creating compelling stories that people can’t help but engage with?
This way of marketing that Marriott is using – story telling that is adjacent to (but not in-your-face with) a brand – feels like a shift in big-picture marketing philosophy to me. Time will tell if this method of advertising is effective, but the underlying question is worth asking:
How do we become what people are interested in?