Thought Leaders in association withPartners in Crime

Brands and Advertisers: Stop Projecting to the Back of the Room

Branding and Marketing Agency
Toronto, Canada
LP/AD's Alex Shifrin on why humanity will have to be core to any content creator’s approach

Ever watch one of those films from the 40s or 50s and wonder why the acting seemed so contrived? Most likely that’s because you were watching theatrical actors try to take their craft and employ it where it doesn’t belong – in front of the camera. The inflection and acting seems staged. That’s because the actors are trying their hardest to project to the back of a theatre to make sure that everyone in the audience can see and hear them. Except the audience is up close and all you can see and hear is a caricaturizing of human behaviour.

It wasn’t until actors like Marlon Brando adopted method acting and introduced nuanced and real human behaviour that film changed. They did something that made sense in front of an up-close lens. Suddenly there was a marked shift in film style and performances were no longer wooden, theatrical, and disconnected from their audience.

Something very similar is happening today in advertising. For years, we’ve been taught that good advertising is a dramatization of a problem and its solution. The key word here is dramatization. We looked to caricaturize and package a sales pitch and, in many ways, look to project it to the back of the room to make sure that none of its target audience is excluded.

Enter the next generation gap.

We’re at a pivotal point with advertising and the creation of content, a point that’s not unlike what happened in cinema. There’s a gap in the way that content is consumed today. While we continue to present almost theatrical dramatizations, the audience has undergone a schism. Extrapolating what belongs on traditional media and pushing what is practically a TV spot onto TikTok looks awkward and out of place for anyone under 25 years old. For people over 25 also, who’ve bought into valuing a more intimate and humanistic type of content.

On platforms like TikTok, to connect you must get a little closer. Although some brands still attempt to project to the back of the room, real connections are the pauses between moments, the body language, and the seemingly intangible moments of authentic, unscripted human behaviour. 

This realization needs a fair bit of unpacking to truly get to the core of what brands should be doing to create compelling content. The brief needs to change, the KPIs need to be reconsidered, messaging needs to be reprioritized, and organic engagement needs to be revalued. 

Closeup humanity will have to be core to any content creator’s approach.