Mainstream Media Covering Content Insights
The mainstream media hasn’t paid much attention to date to the “content revolution,” but some great content-related stories have been coming out recently from two major outlets in particular.
Fast Company magazine “gets” content more than any other major print outlet, perhaps because it covers the intersection of technology and marketing. In its March issue, Fast Company labeled Red Bull one of the world’s 50 most innovative companies for its impressive media efforts. The Red Bull Media House spent $2 million on a 2011 stunt film, develops reality-TV and series ideas with partners like NBC and YouTube, and produces a magazine with a 4.8 million distribution, Fast Company reports.
Red Bull is a “media company that sells drinks instead of ads,” one Red Bull collaborator told Fast Company, and this story describes how they do it. Red Bull Media House is eventually expected to turn its own profit, though the article doesn’t say when. Last November’s Fast Company featured profiles of “The New Content Kings” working for brands like LinkedIn, Lexus and eBay. And online, its bloggers regularly proselytize about content.
The New York Times has also done some great work on content recently, in line with their solid coverage of media and advertising. On March 12 media columnist David Carr described two alliances that aim to establish codes of conduct for content aggregators. One code aims to establish standards, while the other suggests common symbols “to create a common shorthand for attribution.” It’s unclear which of these codes will dominate, but brands that want to aggregate content and keep their integrity will want to closely follow their development.
In this story, The Times highlighted Google’s Project Re:Brief, which seeks to re-imagine for the Web some of America’s most iconic advertising campaigns. For example, Google worked with Coca-Cola to remix its Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop” ad (“I’d like to buy the world a Coke, and keep it company…”). The new ad allows users to connect with strangers around the world by buying them a Coke at a special vending machine and attaching personal messages. (Google uses its Maps to chronicle the Coke’s journey and Translate to translate the messages.)
Other ads Google has worked on include Alka-Seltzer’s “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” and Avis’ “We Try Harder.” As the Times’ Stuart Elliott remarks, Google’s goal with Project Re:Brief is “to help to demonstrate that campaigns in new media need not appeal only to the rational side of consumers and can be as emotional as those from the so-called golden age of advertising.”
I should add that user-generated content has already proved that new media can have a big emotional impact. A big thumbs-up to Google if they can prove to brands that they can do the same.
Richard Sine writes about business, personal finance and health for magazines and content marketers. He writes regularly for Men’s Health magazine and for brands such as Fidelity Investments, UPS and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.