Ford and Lexus Experiment with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

For this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, two car companies created unique ad campaigns specifically for the issue, but also extended those print campaign into the online and mobile world through unique added content: Ford, and Lexus.

Ford Dalena Henriques

Ford’s ad for the new 2013 Mustang featured a tease of a model named Dalena Henriques. She only appears once in the magazine, in Ford’s ad, which is odd since most models make repeat appearances throughout the issue. However, there’s a good reason for this oddity: Dalena Henriques is a made-up model that Ford created for their swimsuit spread.

Ford was counting on readers to search for more of Dalena by firing up Google and searching for her name, since that search would more than likely end at DalenaHenriques.com, the only site that existed for this made-up model.

Dalena Henriques

On the site is a collection of additional photos of the car, each with additional, partial glimpses of

A Shift To Curation

Content Curation

No that long ago, blog writers were the primary curators of content online, and we’d all tune in to see what they’d recommend next. Ads would try to place themselves next to premium content on premium channels, but the connection was loose at best, and readers knew the ads were paying for the placement, so they would still get ignored.

However, as companies realized there was value in being the source of new, interesting and unique content, curation became a viable marketing tactic. Through Twitter, Facebook, and other curation channels, companies would find and share content related to their own products in hopes of attracting the sustained interest of their target market.

Over time, as trust shifted and consumers were more willing to look outside of the traditional sources for new content, additional verticals started to adapt to this trend, including ad networks and daily deal sites.

In the last post I talked about ad networks that have taken on the role of content curator, so this time I’ll give a few examples of daily deals sites that have harnessed the power of content curation.

Fab

The first example of this trend is Fab.com. As Sarah Lacy noted recently on PandoDaily, “Fab Isn

The Network Matters

A few posts ago, I talked about ‘Acceptable Ads‘ from networks like The DECK, Fusion Ads, Carbon Ads, InfluAds, Yoggrt, and Ad Packs by BuySellAds. I argued that these networks are working to become curators of content, not just broadcasters of the highest bidder, and as a result, the products they advertise get additional value out of just being picked to be featured in the ads.

Field Notes is another brand owned by Coudal Partners, the company behind The DECK, and they recently created a banner ad that caught my eye:

Red Field Notes

As you can see, there’s no call to action, no product shot and no sales pitch. Instead, there’s just a colored box, a product name and the fact that they ‘made a red one’.

If you aren’t already familiar with Field Notes, or aren’t the world’s biggest fan of the color red, you might look right past this ad without a second thought. And if you were to compare it to the Anatomy of the Perfect Banner Ad from BuySellAds, this banner would fail every test.

However, because Field Notes has such a long standing presence on The DECK, and because readers of sites that feature ads from The DECK trust the network to only highlight products they might be interested in, Field Notes is free to focus on a single point they’re trying to get across; that their notebooks, which specialize in creative colors and seasonal varieties, are now available in red.

It’s a simple message, but perhaps the most effective given the audience’s existing familiarity with the product, and trust in the network.

If you click on the ad (because how are you NOT going to click on an ad like that?) you’re presented with a fantastic video that explains the new red color, and tells an inspiring tale of love and adventure:

As Coudal Partners says on their site:

When you’re your own client, and there’s no one to step all over your ideas, what happens? Well for us anyhow, we wind up with a series of promotional films that hardly ever mention the product, or only mention it tangentially.

Apparently that philosophy extends to their banner ads as well.

Coudal also goes on to point out videos for their Fire Spotter, Northerly and Monona County Fair editions of Field Notes, which each featured new colors and a new story to tell, but didn’t feature a lot of the product being pushed down your throat.

While this doesn’t work for everyone, it’s important to keep in mind that there are other factors to an ad’s success besides just the image and the copy. Something as simple as the network that it runs on can have a huge effect on the response the ad receives.

In my next post, I’ll dive deeper into this trend of brands and networks as curators of content.