Yesterday I was walking down the street when I spied something very peculiar over the legendary San Francisco nightclub The Stud. It was a billboard for Sharethrough and it said only one thing: “native advertising”.
I have to give Sharethrough a lot of kudos because the mere idea of promoting native advertising via out-of-home literally stopped me in my tracks. Who would do that? The very notion of it seemed utterly absurd … and yet, there I was, standing in the middle of the street, thinking about it.
Advertising objective complete.
It turns out the campaign, which is under the tagline “Ads Can Fit In,” includes a variety of executions, all of which can be seen here.
Which brings up an interesting point, because the reason why the billboard worked on me is a bit of an accident. All of the executions in the campaign are meant to blend into their surroundings. In the case of the one I stumbled upon, it was designed in the same color scheme as The Stud exterior. Yet, the sedateness of the art direction and message actually made that point unclear. What grabbed me was how much the concept of advertising native via out-of-home actually stood out.
The ad worked precisely because it didn’t fit in.
I think the right marketing message paired with the right medium can make a powerful case for Native Advertising … and in such cases, absolutely guys, fit in. But for something like out-of-home, where mindshare can be counted in nanoseconds, I have only one thing to say: stand out. Disrupt me. Give me something that makes me stand in the middle of the street, oncoming traffic be damned.
And in case you’re wondering, yes I made it to the other side unscathed.