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ALF's Reemergence Reminds Us That Content Is KIng
Posted on February 14th 2014
While the depth of my experience is in reputation management, my heart has always been in creative content development. Perhaps that is because as marketing communications has evolved over the past 10-15 years, one could argue that creative content has become the lynchpin of how brands define themselves, particularly online and in social channels.
Think about it -- we are so continually surrounded by the noise of marketing content that only the extraordinary (or ridiculously-funded) campaigns break through and reach today's consumer. We're just too busy, self absorbed, consumed in our ADHD-driven world with Tweeting, IMing, texting, posting on Pinterest, cruising photos of our old girlfriends on Facebook, asking worthless questions on Quora, Snapchatting and the list goes on.
In recent years I've unsuccessfully offered some offbeat, content-driven campaign ideas that went absolutely nowhere. They were ones, however, that I was certain would break though the clutter of today's media environment. There was the proposal to a pool manufactuer that we should create a campaign featuring Mr. T charging into consumers' backyards and yelling at the home owners that he would "Pity The Pool" that isn't up to date with the latest and greatest. I've asked several clients to bankroll a "Save The Gingers" effort as the red headed gene pool is set to run out in the next century.
And then there's my Mount Rushmore. He, or perhaps "it," who I believe is the most under-appreciated 1980s TV star -- ALF, a.k.a. Gordon Shumway. For years I've pitched him over and over -- from online cooking shows to information technology how to's. If there's an ALF idea out there, I've probably pitched it.
Thus I was absolutely thrilled to see two well-endowed brands recently hop on the ALF train, justify my dream, and at the same time, break through the media clutter and endear themselves to consumers.
First there was Delta airlines with its brilliant “Delta’s 80′s In-Flight Safety Video." From homages to break dancing and high fades, a Devo hat, and of course, a cameo by ALF.....as well as Captain Roger Over (Kareem Abdul Jabbar). Delta’s brilliance was to rope viewers into actually focusing on what a live human being in an airplane — often sitting right in front of you — cannot do. It makes you pay attention to the airline safety instructions that virtually every passenger ignores, while conveying the message in a manner that leverages brilliant humor to endear the brand to virtually anyone watching.
Then there was Radio Shack, also harkening back to my formative years with a lovely homage to the 1980s in a Super Bowl ad that included ALF, following it up with an ALF-centric commercial (below) as well that's created great buzz.
Why does this all matter? Why am I harping on a make-believe alien who enjoys feline omelets?
Quite simply, it's because content is king in social media today. Whether it's ALF, the notion of moving the Super Bowl to Saturday (ahem), or something else that amuses or engages, as long as you have brilliant content -- not necesarily complex, it can be simple, but brilliant. You can then more effectively break though the clutter of today's media environment and begin to build a dedicated audience and endear it to your brand.