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Social Media – Is it time to think outside the box?

MRM’s Katie Jordan questions whether the financial services are missing a trick when it comes to advertising through social media.

Last Sunday, after flicking through the channels with my housemates trying to decide what was better to watch – the Hollyoaks or Come Dine with Me omnibus (oh, the joyous choices)  –my housemates and I got very bored and started to play the “favourites” game. For those of you who have Sky and therefore probably don’t have to lower yourselves to this form of entertainment, it basically consists of going round the group asking what each other’s favourite chocolate, drink, children’s TV programme of all time etc. is.

Thrilling, I know.

Anyway, the point of this story is that one of the questions which arose was “favourite brand” to which my answer was Innocent.

So, why Innocent? Well, I believe that they are the most innovative brand out there at the minute – especially when it comes to pushing the boundaries when advertising their products. Indeed, their recent tweet and eat campaign is an excellent example of the creative ways in which you can use new social media channels such as Twitter to advertise.  For those of you who are not familiar with the campaign, Innocent has invited people to tweet using the hashtag #tweetandeat. The more people that tweet, the more money they offer off their Innocent veg pots, until eventually, the pots become free.

In fact, looking around there are numerous examples whereby companies have thought outside the box when it comes to advertising using social media. Swear Jar is another great example of a company using Twitter to raise both awareness and money – this time for charity.  Here, Swear Jar is linked to your Twitter account and monitors the amount you swear each week. At the end of each week, it provides you with a link that asks you to pay £1 to charity (UNICEF famine appeal) for each time you swore. F*cking brilliant!

However – it doesn’t just stop at Twitter. Let’s not forgot about the other social media channels such as YouTube. Here, even the most obscure brands can excel, such as Tipp-Ex’s advert which gained great coverage both online and in print for its innovative way to grab consumer’s attention. For those of you who don’t know it, viewers of the YouTube clip titled ‘NSFW. A Hunter shoots a bear!’ are given a choice at the end of the video – they can either make the hunter shoot the bear or let him go.  After making your choice, you are then commanded to type in anything you want, to which they will respond.

It seems consumers are no longer satisfied with merely being told what brand they should buy but instead, they look for a brand they can actively engage with.

Now, I know with the recent announcement that the FSA will be moderating Twitter ads within the financial services industry, financial services may be feeling rather cautious when it comes to advertising using social media networks but, with other industries jumping leaps and bounds in front and reaping the benefits, surely it is time for them to both learn and take inspiration from these examples and pick up the pace?

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