A Native Voice for a Brand's Story

Yesterday at Advertising Week I've attended a panel about Brands and the Art of Content Creation. At the panel the brand managers of Anheuser-Busch, Johnson&Johnson, and American Express showcased their most successful campaigns such as this. There were several interesting aspects discussed at the panel, but the one I want to write about today is how brands leverage artists to tell their story and how could that learning be applied to native advertising.

American Express Unstaged is a series of concert films directed by some of the best movie directors such as David Lynch and Terry Gilliam, and performances of the bands such as Killers and Kings of Leon. The American Express brand manager explained that they don't want an artist to just tell the brand's story but they expect from the artist to tell the brand's story with unique voice of the artist him- or herself thus connecting with artist's audience without compromising artist's credibility and uniqueness. As explained by all the brand managers in the panel, when the the artist embraces the brand's message and extends it with his or her unique voice, the end result are awesome for all the parties involved.

What ad tech's goal in native advertising should be is to enable brands to specify their stories in enough detail for publishers to understand the story and then to present the story with the unique voice of the publisher, at scale. If all that advertisers deliver to publisher is a medium rectangle banner ad, there's not much a publisher can add to it. But if we find a way for brands to specify their story in more structured way, publishers could have more options to adapt the story to the peculiarities of the publisher's medium and add publisher's unique voice to the story. The challenge of programmatic native advertising is to do so at scale.