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“Fast advertising” was propelled into the marketing spotlight with the debut of Aviation Gin’s clever marketing spot, “The Gift That Doesn’t Give Back” in response to Peloton’s 2019 holiday ad “The Gift That Gives Back.” As a result of its instant success, fast advertising represents an emerging genre of marketing that plugs-into popular, cultural, and social trends and memes—at scale. By augmenting traditional efforts, fast advertising can help accelerate brand modernization and relevance amongst highly-desired connected consumers.
Compete at the speed of the internet and trend cycles
Fast advertising’s namesake was inspired by the fast fashion industry. Leaders like Zara and H&M are able to create fashion lines that mirror current trends quickly across the supply chain from design to retail. Following, fast advertising presents an opportunity for brands to participate in popular trends as they happen. Digital is also introducing an infinite number of “in the moment” marketing opportunities to engage consumers beyond traditional campaigns. Customer research revealed that 88% of business customers and consumers expect companies to accelerate digital initiatives.
Did you know that a Twitter post has an estimated lifespan of only 18 minutes? In both fashion and advertising, social media is accelerating trend cycles, making fast a critical element in competing for consumer attention.
Relevance at scale
Traditional advertising is often led by an idea, then creative and followed by a supporting campaign designed to shape perceptions or drive calls to action. Over time, advertising contributes to a lasting impression that eventually forms the brand. These campaigns often follow fine timelines such as seasons, holidays and events.
The foundation for fast advertising on the other hand, is always-on, plugging into fashionable and cultural trends, memes, challenges and trending topics as they happen.
Fast advertising can accelerate brand awareness and relevance with every campaign and brand experience that meaningfully aligns with trending topics. Doing so, sparks community engagement, fosters personal experiences, creates social ties and ultimately, helps brands become part of important social fabrics.
In 2019, Aviation Gin was able to capitalize on Peloton’s negative press, maneuvering from spotting the opportunity, to ideation and creative, to execution and marketing, in just one week. In doing so, Aviation Gin not only broke the internet, it broke the mold for traditional advertising. The brand stole was thrust into the spotlight, reaching and winning the attention spans of coveted consumer demographics. Eight months later, Diageo acquired Aviation Gin for $610 million.
In 2020 and 2021, political action committee, The Lincoln Project, used fast advertising as a means to distribute spots that highlight the acts of politicians, donors, media and other actors while they were in the news. Like Aviation Gin, short videos are quickly but thoughtfully produced and distributed on social media within days. And, they usually wind-up trending across social networks.
While still evolving, fast advertising is proving effective, enhancing traditional marketing to connect with consumers in moments that matter, at speed and scale. To start, consider augmenting campaigns in the following ways:
- Create a rapid-response team and dedicated resources: Marketing teams need to start allocating budget and resources to explore real-time creative and resources to experiment fast. This means that internal and external resources must optimize trendspotting, creative, decision-making, legal approval and measurement to start flexing.
- Invest in real-time listening, data and engagement platforms: Invest in a customer data platform (CDP), AI and machine learning powered platform to analyze meaningful data and patterns in real-time. Additionally, connect the digital dots to real-time, personalized engagement mechanisms to engage customers around fast advertising campaigns.
- Trendcast: Monitor challenges, trends, news cycles, events, memes and other movements that are important to your desirable consumer segments.
- Reimagine Storytelling: Design for value-added engagement. There’s a fine line between trendy and on trend. The goal isn’t to respond to everything, but instead to be additive, significant, and memorable. Creative now needs to follow a more agile, real-time, and empathetic storytelling playbook to plug into cultural themes, on the right channels, at the right time, in the right context.
- Test and learn: Integrate safe testing protocol and platforms to sample creative within a safe community that can reflect negative or positive feedback. Then, scale quickly, adapt, and learn.
The reality is that in an always-on world with accelerated trend and news cycles, consumers have been trained to expect new content, fast. And, the revolutions of relevance are only going to continue to accelerate. Fast advertising offers a promising approach for modern marketers to create awareness and ultimately preference, in ways that humanize brands and make them more personal, relatable, and fashionable.