Advertisers: “May I Borrow Your Interest?”

likeIn questioning the average passerby on the street, you would probably quickly find that most everyone has at least a basic to moderate understanding of modern advertising. Most people know well enough that the purpose of advertising is to get their attention and business. Most also understand the potential competition factor of advertising and the sometimes vast sums of money behind it. Super Bowl commercials are a great example.

Enter Society’s New Love

It wasn’t long after social media came onto the scene that companies and advertisers realized that there was an enormous cultural effect taking place. They also realized the value of getting on board.

Between the largely publicly understood elements of advertising cause-and-effect and this newly emerging “social media phenomenon”, there came to be what is now referred to as “borrowed interest of social media.” Here, social media is the only new element since “borrowed interest” has been around since the beginnings of advertising.

“May I Borrow Your Interest?”

So, what is borrowed interest? An archived CBS News article provides a great example of borrowed interest, describing how the date 07/07/07 was creating a small cultural buzz. This cultural event was then instantaneously adopted as a sort of celebrated value of many companies in what is termed borrowed interest. Contests and sweepstakes were held with promotions relating to the number 777. Similar promotions are held around every holiday, big or small.

Borrowed interest is quite common, and when you can recognize it, you begin to notice its use more and more frequently; hence the current state of social media borrowed interest in which every maker of a product wants to be seen as affiliated with any and all forms of culturally acceptable social media. This is done in a number of ways, but for the most part, these methods of involving the social media element in product advertising can be classified as being either direct or indirect.

Direct reference to social media ties can be seen when an advertisement directly makes mention of those ties in some form or another. In other cases, the marketing experts in charge seem to opt for a softer approach to presenting the correlation. This more subtle approach is typically taken when it is deemed a better tactic to present social media affiliation as a naturally inherent feature of the product or company, not necessarily needing to be flamboyantly heralded. This can certainly tend to have a more convincing effect at times. The New York Times article, “Ads That Speak The language Of Social Media”, elicits some great, easily recognized examples of such social media borrowed interest. For example, a car commercial that references a mother accepting a daughter’s “friend request”, and a candy commercial depicting a thumbs-up sign reminiscent of the thumbs-up symbol on Facebook.

No matter the exact method of making the point, as long as social media is a cultural must-have, consumers can expect to be made fully aware that the advertisers and their products are most certainly on that same popular train. The only remaining question: What will be the next big cultural norm that the advertisers are bound to jump aboard?