I don't think you will find a social media marketer who isn't talking about the need for brands to be hypretransparent on the web, and have a clear value exchange proposition for their customers. And they are absolutely right to. These two fairly simple concepts (essentially be honest and give people something cool or useful) are often massively overly complicated though. Maybe because we attach absurd technical jargon to these principles we feel the ideas themselves have to be equally complex and technical. Or have some kind of super-complex messaging interwoven into them, the likes of which even the CIA couldn't decode.
One person who understands the need for bringing it back to basics more than anyone is Ken Block and his Gymkhana series. If you haven't seen his stuff before, check out the fourth and latest instalment here: Gymkhana - The Hollywood Megamercial.
The value exchange is laid out so simply and clearly that it even features in the title of the video: "The Hollywood Megamercial".
- We're going to show you some products
- We're going to show you some really cool shit
- We're going to show you some more products
Simple. And 9.2 million views says it's working pretty well for him. The second video in the series (with 29 million views) even begins with an opening title card which reads (in florescent greeny yellow) "Warning - The following is a product advertisement. You are going to be bombarded by visuals of great looking products, and then entertained by motorsports eye candy. Do not resist the temptation to purchase the products when tempted to do so. Enjoy!"
Clothing brand Vooray has taken on a similar approach, which after 2.7 million views on this video also seems to be working. And of course, we certainly can't forget Red Bull who have taken it to a whole other level.
While of course this won't work for every brand (I can't quite imagine PG Tips drifting cars round corners following a call to buy tea bags...) and neither would it be financially viable, the principle still stands that if you provide some simple value and don't try and hide the reasons behind why you're doing it, if the material is genuinely cool people will engage with it.
Do some cool stuff. And don't try and be high and mighty and pretend you're doing it for any reason other than trying to sell more products. Why is this over-complicated so often? Answers on a postcard.