What Can These Four Pictures of Cats (and one Rabbit) Teach You About Marketing?

AUTHOR: Marshall Akita

Have you ever opened a clickbait article, only to find that the content inside isn’t what you expected? Well, sorry, but it’s happened again. However, to retain honesty in our advertising, I’ve interspersed this post with 4 pictures of cats (and one rabbit). I’m partial to number 4 myself—what about you?


A friend shared a spectacularly interesting Airbnb rental opportunity with me the other day. For any Van Gogh fans who have ever dreamed of spending a night in his sumptuously colored Bedroom in Arles, now you can. Personally, I think I’ll stay somewhere else—the attempt to render Van Gogh’s admittedly challenged perspective grasp in three dimensions would probably make my head spin—but…

I have to admit – I’d never seen anything like this before.


Because of that, I read the description a bit more thoroughly. In fact, the entire thing is a promotion for the Art Institute of Chicago’s ongoing Van Gogh exhibition. What struck me most about it, however, was that it was completely novel. Because of that, I paid attention.

The Van Gogh Airbnb was, in fact, novel in two ways—one of which was not immediately apparent. First, it was simply a creative and, to my knowledge, unique attempt to create a rendition of a real location, but in the exact way that it had been previously rendered in an artwork. In other words, it was conceptually novel.

But there was a second novel quality—one that I had failed even to notice at first—that really caught my attention. I had never even thought of the possibility of marketing on Airbnb, but the fact that I was seeing what was, essentially, one very elaborate ad as a piece of the Airbnb content, seamlessly integrated within the other listings. It was so seamless, in fact, that I hadn’t noticed it was an ad at first.

Novelty had my guard down.


Like most people, I tend to get annoyed when I see an ad over and over again. My finger hovers over the ‘Skip Ad’ button on the YouTube pre-rolls, waiting for that 5-second timer to elapse. Every once in a while, however, something catches my eye as particularly interesting, funny, engaging, or just plain new. Those are the messages I pay attention to.

Geico has the art of making me want to listen to them down to a science. As a company, they are constantly refreshing their messaging. Because they also put such a strong emphasis on keeping their ads exciting, this means that whenever a new campaign shows up, I pay attention, wondering exactly what they have come up with this time.

The only problem with this strategy is that it is prohibitively expensive for many companies. Creative content costs money, just like any content, and more refreshes mean more expense—something that companies with more constrained marketing budgets simply cannot afford. How, then, can a company take advantage of the power of novel advertising without breaking the bank?

Creativity shouldn’t cost a fortune.


The price of creative content does not have to be a limiting factor. That is exactly what I find so compelling about the Art Institute of Chicago’s Van Gogh Airbnb—it is certainly a creative piece of content, but it is also deployed creatively.

Nowadays, advertisers can easily be spoiled for choice when it comes to where they show their marketing content. There are scores upon scores of ad platforms, each with their own unique advantages. Some may reach a broader audience, but savvy marketers are increasingly turning towards platforms that focus on smaller, more targeted audiences and ones in which marketing content can more seamlessly be integrated into the general content that consumers want to see.

By moving to smaller, more diverse, and more targeted marketing platforms advertisers are learning how to better engage with their clients, and the ones that get there first do it best—that’s just the nature of novelty. The first website banner ad attracted massive amounts of traffic. Before that, the first ads on television were captivating, and before that, radio ads brought people their favorite programming. In this world of TiVo and iPods, people can now skip the ad content that they have come to find distracting. Where it is still new and exciting, however, people do pay attention, allowing advertisers to make the most of their creative content without having to spend on perpetually rotating campaigns.


About Pet Cause Media

Pet Cause Media is the national leader in veterinary pre-education and digital out of home marketing in veterinary offices. We work closely with our veterinary and sponsor partners to ensure full compatibility and maximum results. Visit our website (petcausemedia.com) or contact Marshall Akita (marshall@petcausemedia.com) for more details.



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