Something resembling the truth

Time to tell the truth?

02nd Jul 2021

Ok, so they are probably not an award winner for creative execution! But make no mistake these are good ads. Audiology at The University of Southampton is a subject appealing to a niche audience. The challenge is to find that audience. These ads generated high levels of engagement on Instagram and brought a lot of new users to the website.

Personal, compelling stories

The secret to these ads’ success is the integrity of the content, coming from a credible source delivered in the right way. Some months before we were asked to produce the ads, we edited a suite of selfie videos for Audiology. I reflected then that, whilst they were rough at the edges, they had some great content. The fact that the stories are all told by the students themselves made them both compelling and credible. When asked to produce some Instagram ads, quickly, during lock-down, there was no doubt in my mind where to start. I carefully edited the videos selecting sound bites that communicated, in just 15 seconds: the benefits of studying the subject, the course, the staff ethos and the social environment.

The skill of the creative is not to get too creative

However simple, even crude, the execution appears, it was very carefully considered. Knowing these ads were to appear on Instagram I wanted to develop something that didn’t detract from the authenticity of the content by dressing it up. Done right it would sit well in the Instagram environment without passing off as Instagram content. The bold colour was designed to grab attention. The simple overlay provided the space to include subtitles for those people viewing the app with the sound muted.

Appealing to a marketing sceptical generation

Expectations have changed and we know that the new target audiences for both Further and Higher Education are deeply sceptical about marketing. They are hungry for truth. This movement started before the Covid19 pandemic but has rapidly escalated as a result of it. The age of ‘authentic marketing’ is upon us. That’s not to say that every ad we produce should look like a selfie style Instagram ad. We need to bear in mind the brand and its positioning. But we need to craft our communications carefully and sensitively to ensure they are credible to an increasingly sceptical target audience who are actively in pursuit of truth.

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