So, last week’s Content Marketing World conference (#CMWorld) in Cleveland was a huge hit. Yes, we were a little disappointed that John Cleese resorted to an old Johnny Carson monologue in a keynote supposedly about creativity and being original. (Oh, the irony.)

Offerman

But we did get to see Parks and Recs star Nick Offerman chug one of our client’s beers. Which was awesome. And we did get to learn about the latest, greatest content marketing strategies and native ad platforms that are so great, we’re told, because they make paid advertisements feel less like, umm, paid advertisments. Which made us wonder… how is this a new strategy? Even the best ad agencies in the world will tell you:

Advertising is an intrusion.

With the exception of Super Bowl fans and Homer Simpson, nobody is waiting for your ad. How do we know this? Because we’re human beings. And we love our DVRs, satellite radios, pop-up blockers, and spam filters, too. Advertising, no matter the medium, platform, or deceptive new “content marketing” buzzword it’s being called these days, is still the telemarketer who calls during dinner. It’s the drunk uncle who broke your ten-speed at Christmas.

So, how do you overcome perceptions and barriers like these and engage the most stubborn, media-averse consumers these days? Ding! Ding! Ding! You got it… create ads that don’t look, sound, or feel like ads.

Advertising that rises above the blah blah.

Like a childhood brain cancer awareness ad that’s a one-mile long stretch of sunflowers along I-90.

Sunflowers

Or an ALS fundraiser ad that’s an ice-bucket challenge. Or a professional sports team ad that is a public transportation-wrapped baseball fans can autograph.

bus-in-the-tribe

Or a feminine care product social ad that’s a global movement empowering women.

always

Feeling inspired? Great. Now get out there and go create some fresh, rewarding content/brand conversations/e-newsletters/paid ads that people actually want to see, talk about, seek out, and even participate in.

Okay, team. “Hard work” on “three”. . . “together” on “six.” One, two, three…

Sincerely, your friends in…

Mural