The Drum Awards Festival - Official Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Trailer Creative Works Brand Strategy

People are bored of social media ads, so let’s get creative

By VJ Anand, Executive creative director, VaynerMedia EMEA



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

Find out more

April 18, 2024 | 7 min read

Boring, inauthentic, repetitive: just some things people say about attempts to sell to them on social media. VJ Anand of VaynerMedia gives these tips to stick out from the crowd.

A screenshot from the Gap x Jungle advert featuring Tyla shows two dancers looking at each other

The Gap x Jungle Linen Moves ad, featuring Tyla, was so good it made VJ Anand wear linen / Gap x Jungle Linen Moves via Youtube

A recent survey by Hootsuite found that 59% of people surveyed think there’s too much advertising on social media and 52% are fed up with self-promotional brand content.

Are they right? Hell yeah. Which, we admit, might seem like a strange thing for an advertising agency to say.

All good modern marketers know that things start with listening to the consumer. But all realistic marketers know that the world of media isn’t going to change because people think there are too many ads.

This is why, given where attention is focused today – and by that, we mean mostly on social media – we must all get into the habit of creating content that doesn’t look, sound, or feel like traditional adverts.

It is the natural progression of advertising. Social content has been shifting and changing and it is so important that we stay on top of it as an industry.

The art of a good reply

A good starting point is authentically and creatively engaging with people in the comment section. Ryanair, Lidl and Aldi were early adopters of this, but you don’t have to be a ‘budget’ brand to do it. Good community management is an incredible way of boosting brand awareness and sentiment in a way that sure doesn’t look like a 30 sec TV ad.

It’s not just a way to get noticed either. It’s a goldmine of insights.

In a piece for The Drum, Pollyanna Ward, strategy and planning director at Flight Story, wrote: “Brands that have used the comments section for creative ideas have seen their content do numbers in response because it’s tapping into something that resonates with their audience. This means your advertising budget works so much harder because you’re able to generate earned attention off the back of it... If you turn off your comments, you might be sleeping on your next big creative idea.”

We couldn’t agree more. Brands should be built with social at the center and any creative director, no matter how great, can’t keep pace with the insane number of great ideas people post in the comments.

Likewise, in a piece for PRWeek, Ashley Gross, creative at influencer marketing agency Coolr, wrote about a brand that had: “accumulated over 500k likes on comments alone in three months, almost matching their organic reach from “normal” posting.”

They’d done this by being authentic and “integrating themselves into the pop culture of their community,” she says.

“A comment that is specific enough to the fanbase, like a recurring line, an inside joke, or an allusion only ‘stans’ can understand, will be heroed, because the community is recognizing the brand as someone just like them – a fan.”

Suggested newsletters for you

Daily Briefing


Catch up on the most important stories of the day, curated by our editorial team.

Ads of the Week


See the best ads of the last week - all in one place.

The Drum Insider

Once a month

Learn how to pitch to our editors and get published on The Drum.

The good and bad of self-promotion

We’re also into pushing brands towards documentary style content that features a product in the background – think parodies, movie trailers or music videos. Now you’re talking.

The Jungle x Gap Linen Moves campaign, featuring Tyla, is so good it makes me want to wear linen. And I hate linen.

It’s not about misleading people. We hear loud and clear that: “clickbait is the most-cited reason (76%) why consumers would unfollow a brand on social media.”

But so are the following reasons: “boring (68%), inauthentic (68%) or repetitive content (68%).” These are pitfalls we can avoid.

Great modern campaigns feature insights from social media at their heart and get creative. They pack a powerful first one-second hook, they feel authentic to the platform they’re on, and they’re anything but boring.

Trailer Creative Works Brand Strategy

Content by The Drum Network member:


VaynerMedia is a global creative and media agency with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Singapore and Mexico City.

We work differently because we’re...

Find out more

More from Trailer

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +