A new approach: Designing new advertising products for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder and Oculus Rift


By The Drum Team | Editorial

October 2, 2014 | 6 min read

How does disruption in our industry force the move away from advertising units to advertising products, and create completely new forms of output? And what exactly will those be? Cindy Gallop, guest-editor of The Drum for one issue only, gathers together an enviable bunch of creative rabble-rousers and deviants to design new advertising approaches and products for the Facebooks, Tinders, Oculuses, Instagrams and Snapchats of the digital world.

We have come a long way in digital forms of advertising, but despite all the advancements, a top-down approach still prevails, with the thought process generally running along the lines of ‘here’s a new platform, how do we cunningly insert ads?’

But as Farrah Bostic of Brooklyn-based product strategy company The Difference Engine points out, “consumers don’t pay for advertising”. So why doesn't the industry create advertising products that add to the user’s end benefit?

In the 1 October issue of The Drum, guest-edited by Cindy Gallop, we put this very task to our selection of rabble-rousers and deviants, asking them to get things started with their suggestions for new approaches to Snapchat, Oculus Rift, Facebook, Tinder and Instagram. Here we look at a few snippets of how they would apply a fresh take on things – but to read their detailed propositions, check out the print edition.

Thas Naseemuddeen, VP, group strategy director, Deutsch LA


If two people find themselves connected by their favourite museum or restaurant, why couldn’t a brand become a helpful partner to bridging that online conversation to an initial IRL experience? Truly facilitate a match! And it’s not just offering up experiences – it’s the bigger idea that your brand can stand for more than just what it makes.

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If your brand is about creating and capturing the most important moments of your life, you should be working with Instagram to create a more seamless way to allow those moments to surface. There are standalone apps like TimeHop that leap you back in time through your entire social feed. Why isn’t that built into the platform itself? If a brand is looking to bring value to its audience this seems pretty obvious territory.

Caprice Yu, former ECD, Sid Lee NY


A future ad product for Tinder might be one where matches unlock relevant brand messages of experiences for potential dates: American Express members unlock Tinder-only tickets for two; Smart Car promotes a two-seater rental for a day trip.

Amy Kean, head of futures, Havas

Oculus Rift

Brands should look to create their own dramatic, interactive films or games that will get them remembered (but definitely not 360 degree ‘experiences’ dedicated to ‘craftmanship’ and the history of the product – no one finds those films interesting). Oculus Rift is a unique and utterly immersive platform – the smart marketers will use that to their advantage and invest in content to make their audience laugh, scream, shake at the knees and deliver even as little as five minutes that they’ll never forget.

Farrah Bostic, founder, The Difference Engine


Snapchat is too young for you, brands. Cradle-robbing what is still a product in search of itself is just gross. That said, there’s something interesting happening in the cult of the young – they’re embracing small ‘networks’, micro-interactions, ephemeral life-recording. There’s another word for this downsizing of social networks: intimacy. Some things are none of your business, mom, dad, brands. Some things need to stay in the realms of ‘dark social’ – text, chat, and even, perhaps, Snapchat and its ilk.


Just as in real life, sometimes brands are relevant to people and their lives. Just as in real life, a meaningful interjection by a product or service – being in the right place at the right time, just when I need you or am about to need you – is a good thing.

So brands, stop thinking about display advertising in a broadcast channel and start thinking about interactions among smaller groups of people. Think about what you can really do for them – not just what you can give them.

Rachelle Denton, head of community, Th_nk

Oculus Rift

Instead of video content working to deliver a brand message, Oculus Rift would actually create a brand experience. Customers become part of the narrative, swept up in the story before them, and have a vastly more personal experience through their interaction with it. After all, brands have the customer’s full attention – in a fully immersive audiovisual environment. Think of the consumer’s pulse when placed into a ambassador’s shoes as they attempt their latest extreme sports stunt. Imagine being able to avoid putting a cap on back stage access to talent during a live event.

Heidi Hackemer, founder and director of strategy, Wolf & Wilhelmine


I propose we build the tools from tribe up as a beta and then expand to be a platform tool if successful. So for example, if we take the time to understand that Beyonce fans are on Snapchat, figuring out the relevant use of this platform isn’t that hard: have Bey pay to release her next video to the Bey Hive in pieces on Snapchat. Does it work? Awesome. Optimise and let other brands into the mechanism.

The topic of reinventing ad products will be addressed at a panel session today (Thursday) at Advertising Week New York organised by The Drum and chaired by Cindy Gallop. Heidi Hackemer, Caprice Yu, Farrah Bostic and Thas Naseemuddeen appear on the panel with Cindy to discuss what The New Creativity means for the future. You can purchase a copy of Cindy's guest-edited issue of The Drum here.


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