Pereira & O’Dell is an international, award-winning advertising agency headquartered in San Francisco. The agency is recognized by Fast Company as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Advertising as well as Advertising Age’s A-list for their business performance. The agency is also the first to win an Emmy for branded content.
Andrew O’Dell, CEO and co-founder of Pereira & O’Dell, in an insightful interview with MarkUp, talks in length about the catching trend of branded content, power of Snapchat as a medium for delivering a brand’s message, and also sheds some light on what global ad agencies are doing wrong in engaging their audiences.
We all know that branded content is trending right now. Do you believe that it’s going to take over traditional form of advertising in, let’s say, next 5 years?
I don’t think it’s going to overtake traditional advertising. I mean, it’s tons of billions of dollars, globally. It needs to be proven out. However, I think branded content is going to take big leaps. A big part of it is how it plays on digital and social. If they cannot make video adoption effective, and change the way people look at their screen and view content, then it won’t work.
According to you, what are the 3 most influential global brands in terms of marketing practices?
Oh man! 3 most influential brands…Brands obviously have to be global to play at that level so I think Coca-Cola is definitely one of them because they have the budget to spend. I would say Apple maybe, and Google. Yes, definitely Google. And Apple is not even a media brand. You spend more time with media brands like Google and Facebook than with any other brands. Apple is coming out with lines of different things you know. And Uber. It’s in India, right? Uber is going to be a very important brand in the foreseeable future in terms of how they can take cars beyond delivery. For them, cars were just a start. I think Airbnb. It used to a client of ours. So awesome! But they kind of outgrew our agency. I think it’s going to be an important brand in terms of how we travel. You know, no hotels. Just go live. I think that’s their new thing. Don’t just visit. Live!
Let’s look at brands that are important to younger people. If you take Coke or Microsoft, kids don’t care about them. But, man, they do care about their Xbox; they care about their Instagram accounts. And, Instagram is THE thing. They don’t care about Facebook. But Snapchat— that’s how they interact. That’s like saying I used to love ABC or CNN while growing up. But I don’t interact with CNN. I just watch it, but I don’t love it. And these kids love these brands. But the problem with those brands are that these kids are so fickle. There’s no loyalty. If someone else comes along, and makes it better and gives a better experience then there goes the loyalty. Our jobs, in terms of creation, is to fund the success of these companies.
Have you ever got a chance to go to Facebook headquarters? I swear, it’s like Disneyland, Bollywood, Hollywood, all mixed into one thing. It’s not even real. You go in, and you are like, “this is the future”. And as someone who runs an advertising agency, I better learn how to work with them, quickly. Make my clients successful with them, quickly.
When it comes to building a brand, how do you think brands can use Snapchat?
Well, let’s take the Super Bowl for example. Snapchat is doing very similar stuff as the Superbowl. They are allowing people within 30 seconds pods, 60 seconds pods to buy time and you will own that time across their entire platform. What’s that worth? $2 million to earn the entire Snapchat platform for 30 seconds? A minute? I don’t know exactly where they meted out with that. I think that’s going to be very interesting. As an ongoing way, I think how you interact with it personally, and how brands can become part of that message, I think that’s important.
I think agencies are notorious for talking to themselves and not allowing themselves to be influenced enough by the culture. We really push ourselves to say, “Did I do this?” Like so many agencies do something beautiful and great without considering if that’s going to be meaningful to me [consumers] or is it just a beautiful piece of work?
So, you are saying that agencies are not quite consumer-centric yet?
No, I think they are very consumer-centric. I just think sometimes they are… I am not getting the word. See, we are going from a big world to a much smaller world. Now you can tell a story using a technology and use their own platform to use the ideas, pre-roll for example. The way Geico did its pre-roll ads. I know you guys probably don’t have it here but they created an ad that literally ended before it even started. The ads created so much interest that people want to watch the whole ad. So, it’s essential how you use a piece of technology. That’s what brands need to understand, and get comfortable with the technology.