Fast Advertising Helps Marketers Compete for Attention in Real-Time and Relevance, at Scale
In December 2019, “Fast Advertising” was propelled into the marketing spotlight with the debut of Aviation Gin’s clever marketing spot, “The Gift That Doesn’t Give Back” in response to Peloton’s 2019 holiday ad, “The Gift That Gives Back,” As a result, Fast advertising represents an emerging genre of real-time advertisements, mostly online, that reflect popular, cultural, or social trends and memes—at scale. By the nature of speed, relevance, and creativity, fast advertising can propel brands into a fervor of desirable activity, earn attention, and influence the conversation in its favor. And when executed consistently, fast advertising can be an effective means to forming a commonwealth of shared interests that build a loyal community around a modern, desirable brand.
Fast Advertising Helps Brands Compete at the Speed of the Internet and Trend Cycles
Fast advertising’s namesake was inspired by the fast fashion industry. Leaders like Zara, H&M, and Booho are able to create fashion lines that mirror current trends, quickly, across the supply chain from design to retail. This lets consumers participate in trends from their favorite celebrities and influencers and also earn clout and influence their own networks.
Following in fast fashion’s approach to real-time trends, Aviation Gin helped to break the mold for traditional advertising.
2020, among many things, saw the acceleration of digital-first consumer behaviors. According to Salesforce research, 88% of customers expect companies to accelerate digital initiatives.
The digital imperative has also opened the doors to infinite content. Brands now have to compete with a monsoon of consumer created videos, posts, and memes, radically accelerating trend cycles. Cycles pop up, and vanish in the blink of an eye. For example, it’s estimated that a Twitter post has an average lifespan of only 18 minutes. Consumers expect brands to keep up, but how?
Relevance at Scale Fast Advertising
Advertising is often led by an idea, then creative, then followed by a supporting campaign designed to shape perceptions and/or drive a call to action. Over time, advertising contributes to a lasting impression that eventually becomes the “brand.” Traditional campaigns often follow fixed timelines, such as seasons, holidays, events, and trends. Advertising also follows a light switch approach, one where ads are either off or on. Fast advertising on the other hand, is always-on, plugging into relevant trends, memes, and conversations, as they happen over time.
Fast advertising can accelerate brand awareness and earned sustained presence through consistent, relevant engagement where and when consumer attention is focused. With every significant entry into the proverbial conversation, marketers can slingshot the brand toward real-time awareness and relevance while also becoming part of the social fabric defined by what’s important to consumers.
Relevance at the speed of the customer is why the idea of fast advertising is catching on. A growing field of brands are experimenting in real-time, including:
The Lincoln Project, for example, a political action committee founded by Republicans to defeat Trump and candidates who supported Trumpism, used fast advertising to spotlight disinformation, hypocrisy, or abuses of power it uncovered in real-time. A rhythmic series of ads were published in social media, TV, print, and even on traditional billboards.
Calm, a top app for meditation and sleep, plugged-in to the chaos of the 2020 U.S. election by cleverly promoting Calm and reminding users of the need to relax during this stressful time. During the stressful early days following the November 3rd election, the brand sponsored “Key Race Alerts” on CNN with a simple message, “Brought to you by Calm.”
Fast advertising doesn’t replace traditional marketing, but it does offer creative and experimental means to connect with consumers at speed and scale. To start, dedicate time and resources to listening, tracking, and active experimentation all while complementing other programs.
Upgrade: Invest in a customer data platform combined with AI and machine learning to analyst meaningful data and patterns in real-time. Additionally, connect the digital dots to real-time, personalized engagement mechanisms to engage customers around fast advertising and relevant opportunities.
Listen: Monitor trends, conversations, events, memes, and other movements that are important to your desirable consumer segments.
Imagine and Reimagine Storytelling: Design for value-added engagement. There’s a fine line between trendy and on trend. The goal isn’t to respond to everything, but instead to be additive, significant, and memorable. Creative now needs to follow a more agile, real-time, and empathetic palette to plug into cultural themes, on the right channels, at the right time, in the right context.
Act: Create a fast advertising decision-tree for real-time creative development, approvals, execution, and metrics. Agencies of record, marketers, executives, and
legal must be supported by modern processes, policies, and measures.
Test and deploy: Integrate safe testing protocol and platforms to sample creative against trends to understand user feedback.
Measure: What gets measured gets done. Introduce new measures that align fast advertising with brand relevance and consumer preference. Develop “customer performance indicators” or CPIs that track progress to ultimate goals and outcomes.
The reality is that in a real-time world, consumers have been trained by social channels to expect “new” content, fast. The cycles of relevance are only accelerating. Fast advertising offers an additional approach to create awareness and ultimately preference, in ways that humanize brands, making them more personal, relatable, and fashionable.