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The death of advertising — maybe?

It’s official: advertising is dead. Or at least advertising as we used to know it.

There was a time when a high budget TV advertising campaign was enough to promote a brand and get its key messages across to its followers.

But with the rise of digital video recorders and watch again services like BBC iPlayer and Sky+ encouraging more and more people to choose when and how they want to receive content, brands are having to come up with new and innovative ideas to capture the imaginations of their audience.

Social media is also responsible for the changing landscape of how people access the information that is important to them and then share it with their friends.

However all is not lost, as by making slight adjustments to your marketing activity, you will be able to get your key messages out to your target audience in a targeted way.

Go Viral!
Viral campaigns are already beginning to create a buzz amongst audiences. The Guardian’s Three Little Pigs campaign is an excellent example of a successful traditional advertising campaign, supported by social media. The newspaper’s first TV advert in 25 years took a popular children’s tale, The Three Little Pigs, and turned it on it’s head, looking at how the newspaper would report the story using both traditional and new media channels.

The advert was launched on February 29, with a two-minute TV spot on Channel 4, which ran the TV advert for four weeks. It was also screened nationally in cinemas and was hosted on YouTube, Facebook and at guardian.co.uk/open. The film received over 10,000 Facebook shares and over 100,000 views in the first week alone, as well as winning the prestigious Gold Lion award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Make friends
It is important to try and build a relationship with your audience; as with so many brands vying for people’s attention, quick win campaigns might not be as effective as before. People build relationships with brands in the same way they do with people, so think about who your audience is and listen to what they want before engaging with them.

Get personal
Personalised campaigns, creating a unique experience for the individual, are also becoming more popular. Nando’s recent ‘find yourself’ campaign aimed to match people’s personalities with different strengths of its PERI-PERI sauces. Using print, digital and outdoor media the campaign aimed to drive people to Nando’s social media channels to allow direct engagement with the brand.

Think integrated
Integrated campaigns will help to generate the best results. Closer to home and as part of our Christmas campaign for the Waterside Shopping Centre, we produced a gift guide to showcase the different stores and their gift offering in the run up to Christmas. We also promoted this across local radio and online channels, making the guide available to download from Facebook and the Waterside’s website. A successful competition run via social media also helped to raise awareness.

Promote your product
Many brands are turning to product placement opportunities to combat the decline in people watching traditional adverts. Hit US TV show Modern Family focused one of their episodes on the launch of the iPad. Following main character Phil Dunphy’s obsession with the gadget, the show successfully helped to create buzz around the product three days before the launch of the iPad.

Although hijacking a TV show might be a bit ambitious for most businesses, sponsorship of local events and shows is a great way to get your message out there to a targeted group of people. See our other column on sponsorship for more ideas on how to promote your brand locally.