We've heard it all a million times before – the world is becoming more digital. And as a result, our approach to how we view content has completely changed.
Take the TV – we've erased the traditional form of watching television by switching to a more online-driven experience of binging on our favourite shows. All of which has brought about one major advance – the ability to flick through adverts.
We've swapped patience for practicality as our penchant for instant access to watching what we like, when we like, has become apparent. And that's just our generation.
Think of those younger – the kind of kids who will never even know watching an advert for three minutes and 45 seconds every 15 minutes was a genuine concept.
So, what have we learnt during this digital dawn, since the fast-forward button was created and your annual Netflix subscription became the norm?
Well most obviously, we've learnt that we no longer have to wait for what we want; we can skip through the ‘dull' parts of watching TV and get straight to the crux of why we're there, right? I mean, can you imagine pausing Stranger Things between sci-fi abductions and a comforting 80s soundtrack? No, I didn't think so. And quite rightly, why should we have to?
But as technology has adapted and our attention span has gradually gotten smaller, we're once again starting to see a change in our behaviour. Either that, or ad agencies have upped their game.
“The difference between advertising that works and advertising that doesn't is we used to want to skip the adverts and now we want to watch them.”
In a 180-degree manoeuvre, we've gone from not wanting to watch anything that wasn't chosen by us to actually searching, streaming and replaying ads to our heart's content.
You only have to say the words John Lewis and people will automatically be talking about the next Christmas creation. 2016's Buster the Boxer has already knocked up over 25 million views – not bad for something that could quite easily have been put on pause.
But maybe that's the thing. It's about choice. We hate it when we're expected to watch something which we hadn't prepared for.
If we're streaming a new advert, it's because we as the consumer are choosing to watch it, in our own time, just like we are when we choose to press play on our weekly recording.
It's not that we don't like watching ads, it's just we want to choose when and how we watch them.
And it's not just that. We have to acknowledge and respect the fact agencies are rethinking their strategy when it comes to popping out the perfect performance.
The user experience is paramount to any marketing strategy as our technology only continues to evolve. And a shift from portraying experiences rather than possessions is why this mentality works.
If you look at PayPal's slick composition of There's a New Money in Town, or the determination of Canon's exciting, adventurous Live for the Story campaign. Even the rough and authentic reality of Made in the Royal Navy – they are tapping into what we like, our feelings, our emotions and as a result, taking us on a journey. So much so that I want to watch them, I look forward to seeing them.
“I don't want to fast-forward the story, I want the next chapter."
Which begs the question, can we look at the next generation of advertising as mini movies in themselves?
I think the answer is yes.
Because in the end, that's what it comes down to, telling a story and taking your customer on a journey. This all begins with writing – crafting a script that works, a tag line to remember, a mission statement to be proud of, a hashtag which is going to go viral and put you on the pedestal of digital influencers.
But it's not just media advertisements, we can take these concepts and apply them to each campaign we work on.
Do you know your audience?
What do they like?
What do they hate?
What piece of content can we produce that will really tell our story and not make our viewer fall into fast-forward mode?
These are all questions we need to ask ourselves if we want to step-up the user experience. Because after all, our audience are the ones who will decide when to tap into the content we are creating.
So, next time our favourite ad comes on the TV, perhaps we'll rewind, replay, or save it for another day – for a time when we're really ready to begin the customer experience.