Hollywood and the film industry, perhaps? Celebrity and pop culture? The music industry?
What is historically not the first thing that comes to mind? Advertising industry prowess.
Yet, the industry has begun to find footing in Los Angeles today in a way that it never did before. In years past, the LA market was dominated by the monstrous compound (literally, their agency site is a physical space to be reckoned with) that is TBWA\Chiat\Day LA. Then Deutsch LA came along. But more recently, a number of smaller innovative shops have not only crept up but flourished. These are the agencies with whom I spent my time in LA.
As I do in every destination, I set out to discover what makes the advertising unique in this market. But for LA, there was a bit more to the puzzle; what was the change in environment that made the advertising industry grow in the past five-to-ten years in a way it could not, would not, or at least did not before?
During a chat with William Gelner, the Chief Creative Officer of 180LA, the core explanation became absolutely crystal clear in one sentence. His insight was so obvious (as many insights are, once revealed), yet so very on-point. Consider these two questions:
What has become the number one currency of marketing and advertising success? Content.
Where is the content capital of the world? Los Angeles.
At a time where “make it viral” flies off client lips and makes creative directors cringe, both client-side and agency-side marketers know that it is no longer effective to talk to consumers. Talking to consumers equates to talking at consumers, and thanks to the advertising industry and the incredibly insane amount of messages we bombard consumers with every day, they have become immune to the talk. Consumers do not hear us anymore.
You may be able to talk with consumers if you have something incredibly useful to say and are able to actually engage them in conversation with your brand. But virtually the only way you are going to be able to accomplish that today is by providing true value to your consumer. The value you provide is your entryway in to the conversation, by creating content that is useful or entertaining enough to share with their networks and communities.
If the world’s best producers, directors, actors, writers, videographers, models, stylists, dancers and musicians were sitting on your doorstep, it would seem sage to create useful content that leveraged the tools at your fingertips, would it not?
When 180LA looked to provide value to client Sony’s consumers, and increase awareness of new products that in and of themselves are incredibly useful and relevant, why wouldn’t they tap into the creative communities around them in Santa Monica and LA to create a branded television show?
Or when it was time for David&Goliath to take the Kia Hamsters to the next level (yes, a level above a Gold Effie) to sell the Kia Soul, why wouldn’t their teams tap in to new culture fresh off the streets? The shuffling Hamsters commercial not only used LMFAO’s popular song, “Party Rock Anthem,” at the exact moment it was released on radio stations across Los Angeles and huge cities around the world, but tapped in to the newest dance craze, “Shuffling,” to entertain consumers and inspire them to share the content.
The most current of culture presented by a brand in perhaps one of the most unexpected ways (really, hamsters shuffling?) that gives an entertaining reason to share and spread.
Dare I say, “only in LA?”
Home of the Kings of Content.