I just met you. And this is crazy.
But here’s what I wonder: is “Call Me Maybe” a wonderful example of what really captivates a young audience?
It very well may…be. If you haven’t noticed, the song’s been somewhat successful.
Before you tell me to saddle up with Carly Rae and ride off a cliff, hear me out. Here are five cues you can take from the vibrant young Canuck’s ascent up the charts when contemplating your next campaign.
1. Simple works.
Let’s clear this up – “Call Me Maybe” is a brilliantly written pop song. It is not, however, a case study in poetic discourse. The song’s longest word is a whopping six letters. It cashes in on the phrase “so bad” nine times. You get the idea.
But you know what? A newborn, blindfolded baby hearing spoken language for the first time in her life could tell you exactly what this song is about. In music, that level of simplicity may be looked down upon by the slightly more elitist crowd (raises hand), but in advertising, it’s essential. If a person can’t see your ad, quickly gather what you’re “about,” and move along, you’ve wasted a lot of time and money making something that doesn’t clear up anything for your audience.
2. Young people love to dance.
Isn’t that really the essence of today’s smash hits? How else would a song whose entire chorus consists of repeating the word “cake” ever get popular? The fact is, the mass majority of young people are more than willing to overlook a lack of overt intellectualism or rich substance in favor of one thing: interaction. If we can interact with something in an engaging manner, we’re most often sold.
So when you’re creating a campaign, give your audience something it can “dance” to, not simply look at.
3. Feeling is everything.
Much like we love to dance, we love to feel. Particularly, we like to feel things we miss. Things we’ve experienced that we wouldn’t mind revisiting. Go listen to “Call Me Maybe” (if you can) and tell me that you don’t immediately reflect back on some instance in your life where you sheepishly tried to ask out an attractive but unfamiliar crush. Don't lie.
The fact is, things that harken back to our innocence – our carefree days – resonate with us twenty-somethings. Similarly, if a campaign makes us feel something, we’re a lot more likely to open up to it.
So ask yourself, will this campaign make our audience feel anything, or are we simply talking at people?
4. We shamelessly love our guilty pleasures.
I hate that I like “Call Me Maybe.” But I also love to tell people that I hate that I like it. You see, we live in a generation where our admitted guilty pleasures give us some sense of dorky individuality. If it sticks and it’s memorable, we can love it ironically.
Look at Progressive’s Flo (annoying). Allstate’s Mayhem (saturating the airwaves). The pig that goes “weeee” in a number of various moving vessels (a tad creepy). They’re all a bit weird. They may even get under our skin. But, they’re unique and stimulating enough to generate a conversation.
Not everyone loves “Call Me Maybe.” But in the past few months, a day hasn’t gone by where someone couldn’t be found debating it’s place in pop culture. That’s conversation. And long-lasting conversation, at that.
5. Production value matters.
If I recorded “Call Me Maybe” on my laptop, the song wouldn’t have made it past my computer’s trash file. But the fact is, it was produced flawlessly by the former lead singer of another multi-platinum-selling Canadian act. Seriously – the synth-string sound that bursts in on the chorus is so money that Swingers-era Vince Vaughn couldn’t even provide an adequate description.
You may think you’re good enough at design. You may moonlight as a writer of sorts. But just as you wouldn’t entrust your own work to someone not equipped to do the job, don’t take it upon yourself to do something that’s not your expertise. Let designers design, copywriters write copy. Don’t let a great idea go to waste because the final product was produced in haste.
So…did you learn something?
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