When advertising speaks for itself

02/07/2012 -by:Silvina Moschini , CEO & Founder, Intuic | The Social Media Agency

Self-promotional Internet campaigns can be the cornerstone of success for a media agency but also a major risk to its prestige.

An idea is worth a thousand words. Advertising, marketing, and communication agencies know this better than anyone. Their job consists of selling creative ideas that help their clients increase sales. However, media agencies also need to promote themselves. In an environment rich with digital platforms and social networks, agencies can use self-promotional viral campaigns to position themselves in the competitive online universe. 

Starting point

Self-promotion is how media agencies represent themselves to the world. And the world, in this case, is very different from the one they usually address in their campaigns on behalf of clients. Media agencies typically reach massive audiences and end users, but their own campaigns must fulfill a double role: capture their audience and position themselves among marketing managers, communications managers, professional associations, and relentless competitors. 

Customer demands and management of workflows usually relegate self-promotional campaigns to low priority. Efforts to publicize their services are either non-existent or worse, are assigned to inexperienced teams that could make the most capable company look incompetent. Something like this must account for the blunder we analyzed in a previous articleprevious article, when the well-known advertising agency SapientNitro launched a self-promotional campaign that invited ridicule from the online advertising world. 

Viral phenomena 

On the other hand, some media agencies’ self-promotional campaigns have become major online success stories that reaped a positive response. One example is the advertising agency John St., whose latest campaign on its own behalf has been viewed more than 1.3 million times on YouTube.

The idea behind their strategy was simple. Adopting the premise of popular online videos that feature animals, John St. produced a parody that claimed to launch a new service called catvertising, based on the number of videos starring cats that have become web successes. Of course, none of it is real, but the impact generated really was.

Home videos starring pets and babies have become quintessential candidates for viral phenomena. Most of these videos succeed by sheer chance, with no press or marketing strategy to propel them. 

But for agencies like John St., the challenge is much clearer and more critical. They must position themselves to attract business, and at the same time, they must demonstrate the virtues on which they base their claim in the market, thus risking their prestige in a context where competition is fierce. 

For an advertising agency, self-promotional videos can be the beginning of success. But there is a big risk. If the piece does not achieve the desired results, the company can become a joke in a field it should dominate. In viral campaigns, the line between success and failure is alarmingly thin, placing advertisers in a precarious position. Should they risk their prestige to the vagaries of social networks?