You know you're reading a good book (which, it happens, I am) when you can't stop thinking about it, and every free minute you dive back into it. It would be fair to say the same is true for any media: really impactful TV, film, theatre and art have all done the same to me at one time or another.
This got me thinking on the way home tonight about the similar impact that marketing and advertising can have. You find yourself suddenly thinking about it or, in some cases, spending ages pouring over it, even though it really isn't something of great significance.
A case in point is a great campaign that CBS Outdoors have been running, called 'Look for Longer.' If you haven't seen it, be warned it has the potential to draw you in for some serious time wasting. In a good way. It asks you to interrogate an image with a number of London's tube stations cheekily disguised as images.
I came across it when a friend posted it to her Facebook wall. Sitting in bed, supposedly winding down, I found myself spending a good half hour looking at this picture and guessing what the pictures were. I then roped my husband into playing too. Then today, when writing this blog I just managed to spend another 20mins looking at it again!
I was at the ALPSP annual conference back in September where the oft-repeated buzzword of the event was, for me at least, 'gamification'. What a great example this campaign is. Gamification differs in some ways from the great book analogy, in that it also ties into the concept of competition. People get addicted to gaming because they are, by nature, programmed to want to do better than their peers. We want to win. I'm so interested in learning more on this that I just signed up for a Coursera module - more on that to come.
The thing about this campaign is it combines the gaming element with something visually stimulating that makes you want to look, and look for longer. And isn't that exactly what brands all want to achieve? If we're looking to engage, build brand advocates and trust, then inevitably we have to start with getting people to pay attention in the first place. Finding a hook to get people spending time on your site like this seems a great starting point to build conversation and engagement around.