Lately I have been indulging in a little Mad Men binge. Watching this stunning programme has got me making comparisons between advertising then and now. I can’t help but draw some similarities between bloggers, and the infamous advertising gurus of Madison Avenue. Here’s why.
The advertisers of the 1960’s knew exactly how to pitch to their eager audiences, and so do the mastermind bloggers of today. Of course there are still advertising agencies who perform a modern version of Don Draper’s job, but there’s also a new wave of influential advertising experts turning the concept of advertising on its head. Bloggers.
Some bloggers, who have absolutely no background in advertising or marketing, have discovered exactly how to sell products to their audience. So much so that brands are fighting to get particular bloggers on board so that they can expose their products to their gazillions of followers. Now instead of advertisers coming up with all the buzzwords and fads, bloggers are the ones leading the pack. Will there come a day where audiences are influenced just as much by bloggers as they are celebrities?
So what’s the difference between the real advertisers from the big ad agencies and the bloggers promoting their fave products? Both have the potential to earn a huge amount of money. The main difference is that people can relate to bloggers more. They might follow certain bloggers and feel as though they actually know them. One excellent example of this in my opinion is Hannah Gale, who is extremely likeable, relatable and well, just a normal gal.
We might be immersed briefly in a two minute advertising video, but that’s no comparison to following someone’s daily life. I am far more likely to buy something a blogger who I feel like I know has recommended than a celebrity who I feel no real connection with. People like guidance, and are naturally attracted to people who are relatable.
People want to be told what to do so badly they’ll listen to anyone. Don Draper.
Top bloggers seem to know how to play on all the things that people love to share. They have figured out the successful formula for making people act after reading their stories. They have a readymade platform to figure what works and what doesn’t. For example, bloggers have figured out that nostalgia generates social shares. Don Draper knew that nostalgia is a huge advertising weapon, and so do bloggers.
Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent. Don Draper.
In the 60’s people loved stories, aspirational content, and to feel like they can have anything they want if they only reach for it. Guess what, so do the people of today, and this is exactly what bloggers can provide them with.
Joan Holloway, played by the ridiculously hot Christina Hendricks describes her job role in one episode. Although it’s not related to advertising, I think it’s very relevant to what bloggers do. She says:
I’m in charge of thinking of things before people know they need them. Joan Holloway
This is what the successful bloggers of today do. They coin their own terms. They decide what should be popular. You could say the brands paying them to promote their products decide, but top bloggers get thousands of requests to advertise products, and ultimately they pick what they want to expose to their fans. Beauty and fashion bloggers decide the makeup and fashion trends of the moment.
I am not yet one of these bloggers. I write about mental health, happiness and the digital world, so I rarely end up overtly pushing products. However, I do follow a lot of these bloggers and am amazed at their potential to influence the masses. Bloggers have more freedom of speech than advertisers, which gives them a wonderful opportunity to be creative and push the boundaries.
If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation. Don Draper.
Bloggers have the ability to instantly change the conversation, across numerous platforms. They can speak directly to the masses and truly have a direct influence on buying habits. The advertisers of the 1960’s didn’t have quite the same weapons at their disposal.
Mad Men also shows that you don’t have to sell sell sell to generate sales. There are smarter ways to connect with audiences. Advertising savvy bloggers aren’t saying, ‘buy this now’, they are covertly saying, I have this, it makes my life better, and you should too. Bloggers seem to know how to see things from the customer’s perspective, because in a lot of instances, they are the target customer.
You might not agree with some of the comparisons I have made, but it’s an interesting topic to discuss. I don’t mean to offend traditional advertisers in any way, or undermine their role. I simply want to emphasise the role that bloggers now play in the world of advertising, and question what that means.
Mad Men is a multi-award winning, beautifully made series. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend giving it a watch. I am only at the end of season one, so I guess I will absorb a lot more from this intriguing programme. I might even do a follow up to this blog post. Let’s just see how it is received…