Content is a tricky word. It's baggy with many meanings, but you know it when you see it and when you see it it often looks just like …advertising.
Three ads masquerading as content went crazy in the past seven days, starting with Volvo's 'epic splits' and Goldie Blox's 'girls'.
Putting the Beastie Boys' legal claim over the music in the Goldie Blox ad aside (watch here), they're both classic examples of classic advertising. Real product differentiation demonstrated through surprising, relevant and daring execution. Stability and precision in the case of Volvo and unleashing untapped creativity for Goldie Blox.
The only non-classic part of these campaigns is nobody saw them on television. Instead, they were shared online mostly on tablets and mobiles across the world's desks, buses and, in the case of the Hatch household, kitchen tables (followed swiftly by the infinitely repeatable 17 seconds of 'little girl and ice' at buzzfeed http://www.buzzfeed.com/maycie/little-girls-first-walk-on-ice).
But this week wasn’t all about the new, as TV got "native" with ITV's 'The X Factor' + Gary Barlow + Meerkats = genius. What could have been media eating itself instead was a brilliantly executed and genuinely enjoyable "ad" for Gary’s new album or was it for 'Corrie' or was it for Comparethemarket? The point is it didn't matter because everybody won, especially the viewer and isn't that what advertising should always be trying to do?
To get one of these gems a year is a treat, to get three in a week – well it's worth celebrating and remembering that when we're making, seeding and curating work, it's not the other work it's competing with, but with a little girl and a frozen puddle.