Opinion: Movement Marketing in the Nude

Branded content, branded entertainment, cross-media marketing, cloud marketing, viral marketing, cause marketing, guerilla marketing — you may be tired of these names. I am. But the truth is, in order to keep up with consumers’ constantly mutating behaviors, advertising must keep reinventing itself or dress up in different names and approaches.

The newest label? Movement marketing. Is it a game changer — or just a fancy dress?
Unlike traditional advertising, movement marketing starts by finding an idea on the rise within the culture and tries to capture it dramatically and emotionally. Basically, movements that scale need to be couched in “the now.” The brand then defines and declares its point of view, stokes passions and invites consumers to participate/co-create with the brand. 
In movement marketing, the goal is to have people feel they’re not just buying a brand but are “joining” a brand that shares their personal values. Movements think big because people love to be a part of something exciting and inspirational. In this context, people have a positive relationship with the brand that primes them for its next approach or innovation.
Big companies are already figuring out that movements are more valuable than campaigns. Apple figured it out years ago. Dove has done it with its Real Beauty movement, which is actually one of the most powerful ones from a female brand. (They still call it “Campaign for the Real Beauty,” however; probably a vestige of “old advertising.”)
The Pepsi Refresh Project from TBWA\Chiat\Day is a great example of how the public’s ability to create and make important things happen on a large scale is more possible than ever. The movement’s goal was to change the world, allowing Pepsi — which is all about a new view of the world, a new generation and revolution — to talk about its brand in a genuine way while connecting deeply with their young target audience. It engaged thousands of people in the movement. And despite using traditional media to enhance the reach, I believe it would have been just as impactful relying only on the Internet and word of mouth.
Another example, from StrawberryFrog Brazil, is the movement created for Toddy chocolate milk from Pepsi. The shop took the brand’s cow mascot and turned it into a cultural movement by encouraging youngsters to use the word “Muuuuuu” as a way to say, “Cut the nonsense.” It became a hit online and in young people’s conversations, while increasing the product’s market share for three quarters in a row.
WWF’s “The Earth Hour” is also a movement. It’s based on a simple idea: turn off the lights for one hour to take a stand against climate change. It started in Australia with 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses participating. And only a year later it became a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries joining in. Once again, the main media was the people themselves.
Also, the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s “Livestrong,” “Replay” from Gatorade and most Titanium winners in Cannes are cultural movements.
Wow, Titanium. Sexy. So making movements is sexy, isn’t it?

In today’s world, it’s more than sexy. It’s necessary.
Before you even start, assume the consumer will reject you. There are a million things more interesting, important and urgent than you. And we’re in the era of Groupon, Gilt, Life Booker — an era where the community is the one that decides and says out loud what is good or not. So either a brand creates a deeper and long-lasting connection with consumers, or it will succumb to the world of coupons.
To create this connection, it’s necessary to do more than a campaign: you need to build a movement. It is with a movement that one is able to give cultural relevance to brands and thus assign them a higher value. Clients need and require this.
It’s not that the TV commercial doesn’t work anymore. It works, but with diminished efficiency. There is a good chance, for example, that your viewer goes to pee when your ad runs — and your message may not be interesting enough to make him go look for it later. And let’s not even mention TiVo.
It’s not that the paid media doesn’t work anymore. It works, but in a different way. It doesn’t generate engagement, and engagement is a serious thing when you consider this new consumer who is not won over by shouting.

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