• Sergio Brodsky

Easy still requires professionalism

In life, there are things we love to hate and hate to love.

For instance, many of us love to complain about the price of coffee and still devote a considerable amount of our discretionary spend to satisfy our palates and habits. Why? It is one thing to have your home-made coffee being poured from the plunger and it is something completely different to have a barista preparing the frothiest, single-origin latte. The experience is not just a lot better; it is also one that will not disappoint. That is also why getting the gardener to mow the lawn and prune the garden will often be a safer alternative than the DIY hubby. 

When it comes to advertising, it is no different. Despite how easy tech platforms have made it for advertisers to create their own campaigns. According to research firm Enders Analysis, in Britain, only 13% of online search adverts and 44% of online display ads go through the five largest agencies. Having a tech-savvy growth hacker may prove efficient at first, but is it effective in the long run?

The growth-hacking mindset is one of constant optimization and cost reductions for maximum acquisitions. There’s nothing wrong with that but this is just one small part of deploying an advertising campaign that works. By emphasising efficiencies, marketing and advertising have been hugely tactified. The problem is twofold. Firstly, everyday small wins do not amount to a brand’s total equity, throughout its lifecycle. Secondly, by detaching from audiences’ psyche, the broader cultural context and strategy, it becomes even easier to make mistakes or create confusion.

Modern brands really want to be part of your life, and the quickest way to do that is through culture. Aligning with a thing people do, love, or feel is a way of elevating a product or service above a simple supermarket item and giving it value beyond satisfying whatever need state it was designed to fill. And importantly, it can work. But as with poorly chosen festival headwear, cultural appropriation by poorly trained communications professionals can also go horribly wrong.

Inspired by Dan Alexander’s (a.k.a. oddanny) self-puppeteering skills, a new trend emerging on TikTok, Volkswagen decided to adapt the idea to sell their new Golf through a video posted to its German Instagram and Facebook accounts. But something was definitely lost in translation.

The video showed a pair of oversized white hands appearing to push and pull a black man away from a yellow VW Golf 8 car parked on a street. What’s more, one of the white hands then flicked the black man into a cafe called “Petit Colon,” which translates into “Little Settler” from French to English, or “Little Colonist” from German to English, the BBC reported.

German television also noted that the letters that start appearing on the screen afterward first spell out “neger” — which can be used as the German equivalent of the n-word — before merging into the slogan “Der Neue Golf,” or “The New Golf.” The online backlash was swift, with many on Twitter sharing saved clips and screenshots of the now-deleted ad, and calling out Volkswagen’s roots in the German Nazi party.

As shocking as it can be, incidents like this are not uncommon. And when even the things we care most about, such as culture, can get stuffed up, the risk of efficiently ruining a campaign will increase when considering all the many variables your agency needs to deal with. 

It turns out that TikTok has recently unveiled its new self-service platform, TikTok for Business. The platform is great, easy and intuitive. A dream for growth hackers and the more DIY marketer. Still, it is usually what happens before and outside of the platfom that will confer great value for campaigns and not just all the optimization one can do within it. This is the thin line separating growth hackers from trained marketers but is also the big rift separating great ads from noise or offensive, tasteless content.  

We at TikMyDay are proficiently trained across the entire marketing spectrum. From diagnostics (i.e. research) through to strategy and implementation, ensuring your TikTok campaign is in safe hands. We are also intimately familiar with everything TikTok has to offer and how to employ those many features, meaningfully. As the say goes… If you think it's expensive to hire a professional wait until you hire an amateur!

TikTok is the most exciting communications vehicle on the planet and several big and small brands have already started leveraging their positive competitivity advantage. Why risk paying more for a substandard level of service that won’t make your audiences feel more positive about your brand?! Easy still requires professionalism. Let's tok!

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