What is Fame and does it matter to B2B? Fame, in this regard, is notoriety and prestige gained through marketing big ideas on a big stage to a large audience. Fame, in SaaS Brand Strategy vernacular, equates to Lightning Strikes, disruptive events that get on the market’s radar, challenge category conventions, and in doing so capture people’s attention.
The three-part ad series that ran during the Oscars® broadcast on ABC introduced viewers to Otto Desćinsk, known to his friends as Otto Desć.
Fame is back in marketing circle conversations. Sir. John Hagerty (yes, advertising has a Knight) popped up on the BBC last week with Has Social Media Killed the Famous Advert?. Bob Hoffman, aka The AdContrarian, resurfaced his The Fame Game post. Ditto Faris Yakob and his Why Fame Matters column for Warc.
Each in their own way advocates advertising that leads with and generates Fame. As Bob says, “If I was the CEO of your company -- or if I was your client -- I’d call you into my office and give you a three-word brief: Make us famous.”
But what is Fame and does it matter to B2B? Fame, in this regard, is notoriety and prestige gained through marketing big ideas on a big stage to a large audience. Fame, in SaaS Brand Strategy vernacular, equates to Lightning Strikes, disruptive events that get on the market’s radar, challenge category conventions, and in doing so capture people’s attention.
Autodesk deployed the Fame game for a Lightning Strike during the Academy Awards with their new Otto Descinski (Otto Desc) campaign.
Created by Maximum Effort (Ryan Reynold’s agency), the mockumentary series is the first high profile execution from Autodesk’s new CMO Dara Treseder, who came to AutoDesk from Peloton, which likely explains the Ryan Reynolds relationship.
As a Fame Game play, the spot works on multiple levels:
* It humanizes a faceless corporation - Brings warm, human traits and personality to a largely faceless technology company.
* It leverages celebrity - Features writer/director Elizabeth Banks, acting legend Ron Perlman. Hollywood celebrities are still the ultimate influencers if/when their fame is leveraged accordingly. Ryan Reynolds has mastered this model.
* It entertains - It is fun and funny. There is surprise and delight in plot twist and characters. Could Courtney become Autodesk’s Lily?
* It hammers on the brand name - Otto Desc and/or Autodesk as mentioned more than 20 times.
* It’s a targeted media buy aligned with the idea - The Academy Awards
As a Lightning Strike, it also works on multiple levels:
* It’s a quick, precise burst - When done correctly, Lightning Strikes are single, powerful events that are crystal clear on the intended audience and impact.
* It’s disruptive - It taps into the tension that exists between the old and the next. They show the audience there is another way, questions their reality, names the enemy, and reframes the paradigm.
* It earns attention - An event so remarkable that through word-of-mouth or traditional media, people talk about it.
* It is rare - Few companies have the courage to commit to a position. Fewer still have the conviction to own it and defend it publicly. It i
* It has the potential to start a fire - Lightning Strikes should demonstrate commitment and conviction to the strategy, as a way to rally your team, your customers, and your market to your quest.
What Otto Desc shares between Fame and Lightning Strike is that, most importantly, it is focused on the SuperPowers they give their customers. It’s not what Autodesk does, it’s what you can do with Autodesk.
What appears to be missing, or undeveloped as of now, is the follow through. As Rick Rubin notes in his essay, “Surrounding the Lightning Bolt”, it is important to focus on the space after the lightning strikes, because “...the electricity dissipates if you do not capture it and use it.”
To date, there is limited mention and presence of the campaign on Autodesk.com. It’s on their campaign page (https://www.autodesk.com/campaigns/otto-desc) , but not on their Media & Entertainment product landing page. which shows this was an isolated, specific tactic aimed at a specific challenge or opportunity, and not something that represents or introduces a larger overall business strategy, which is generally the role of Lightning Strikes.
As we mentioned in last week’s article, a brand is product plus reputation. Fame is a strong driver of reputation. It’s also expensive. The average cost for a 30-second spot at this year’s Academy Awards was $1.6 million to $2.1 million. Autodesk had three. Include production costs, talent, agency fees, etc…That’s a big ticket item for a brand accustomed to more traditional B2B marketing.
As a B2B tech company, you have to believe leadership is going to want to see some direct impact on certain KPIs for that kind of spend. If the objective was increased awareness among the Media & Entertainment industry, mission accomplished, but the connection between Fame and sales impact is not usually direct and generally unattributable unless you are measuring awareness and brand sentiment, which is also expensive.
But while fame-based institutional marketing is intended to create prestige rather than immediate sales, it should reduce friction throughout the entire sales funnel. Incremental improvements compounded throughout. Autodesk is a mature brand so that understanding, permission, and patience is likely present and represented.
Also, as of this writing, Autodesk’s stock price is up 5.5% since the Academy Awards (from $197 - $207), so there’s that.
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