Taking a brief spin through YouTube looking for irreverent creative inspiration, little did I know I would be inspired by a banner ad. Today, Volvo ran a leaderboard on YouTube in support of its new XC60. What was so cool? Beyond some great, demonstrative use of video to illustrate its auto-braking feature, the banner ad featured an integrated Twitter stream.
You got your Twitter stream in my banner ad! YOU got your banner ad in my Twitter stream!
What was so remarkable to me about this banner was its role as harbinger of greater interactivity in online ads. Think about it. When companies run banner ads, they imagine motivated consumers clicking on them to hungrily devour product information…maybe read some FAQs or watch a follow-on video. Ultimately, maybe (hopefully) they’ll ask some other people about their product experiences a few days later. And in that delay lies one of marketing’s greatest dilemmas: How do you keep people excited between seeing your ad and taking action? Let them interact with other consumers IMMEDIATELY, that’s how!
Tweeting through the fourth wall
Among myriad attributes Twitter demonstrates, its transcendent novelty is its realtime flow of conversation. Whatever you think Twitter is or isn’t, whatever it does well or doesn’t, it happens perpetually…in front of your face. You can practically witness people figuring it out day-by-day, hour-by-hour. So, as an extension of a banner ad, it affords interested consumers the ability to dive into a Twitter stream head-first and begin gathering information at the moment of inspiration. Still on their own terms…no invasive sales people, yet. Just other interested, objective consumers sharing word of mouth about a product or service. In case you missed it, that’s pretty freaking revolutionary. For technology marketing and marketing in general.
The Volvo XC60 ad this day had a live stream from the New York Auto Show. I checked back a few times during the day and confirmed it was truly a live stream. Never saw any profanity, so hard to know if the stream was (or even COULD be) moderated, but for all intents and purposes, I was afforded a raw, unfiltered link to like-minded consumers. Volvo introduced us like friends at a party and then, like a good host, went on its way to greet others. No heavy-handed “what’s it gonna take to get you to drive away in this car TODAY?!” sales vise.
And in this day of Mistrust the Marketer, this is a powerful application of social media and a HUGELY validating raison d’etre for Twitter.