If the TV advertising gurus from the 80’s and 90’s could catch a glimpse of what was going on in advertising in the 2020’s I think they’d be perplexed.

Obviously, you’d have to explain the concept of social media and multi-channel marketing to them. That would be the first hurdle, not insurmountable.

Beyond that though you’d have explain that each channel had its own characteristics and that content for one platform, might not be suited to others.

As social and digital channels evolve it’s hard to keep track of the twists and turns that we, as marketers and advertisers keep getting tugged in.

Much of this change is led by variations in technology. If an algorithm rewards watch time, content grows in length.

If it rewards engagement then creativity can increase. Sometimes advertisers try to ‘hack’ engagement by using controversial topics or negative messaging.

If the platform focuses around short form video, then the emphasis of the ad might be shifted to the first 5 seconds, to catch viewers’ attention before they skip on to the next video.

Over Producing Content


More recently we’ve seen a shift in the technical quality of adverts on TikTok, and not in the direction you might expect.

TikTok is known for its quick, home-made and often technically challenged content. So when savvy brands turn to the channel they sometimes leverage that style.

Take Bose’s advert for its noise cancelling headphones.

Their series of TikTok ads have been smashing engagement and likes, bringing a strong organic boost to their paid reach.

Goodbye Gloss


In these ads Bose abandon their glossy well-established brand and opt for a cheap home-made look with badly scripted dialogue.

The objective here is clearly to entertain and appeal to the younger TikTok audience, many of whom are switching off to traditional advertising.

The results are clear. This example had 20k likes and if you dip into the comments, you can sense the joy and admiration for the campaign.


“Bose needs to run a marketing class.”

“I wish I could have seen the meeting where they had to convince the execs this would work.”

“I didn’t even realise this was an advert.”


This last comment really illustrates why the content works. Blending in is all part of the game.

Taking a highbrow, high quality approach on a channel like TikTok is a risk because putting it simply, your ad will stick out like a sore thumb. Viewers ‘ad senses’ will fire up and whoops, it’s been skipped.

Even for those that realise they are watching an ad, they’re happy to take part because they’re being offered something in return. Entertainment, laughs, inspiration.

TikTok creators’ organic success lies in the platforms interest based algorithm that rewards good content. It’s logical that advertisers should play the same game if they want the same results.

As an advertiser, if we want that organic boost, we need to think like creators.


Do you want to have a chat about creative video ads for your business or agency?


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