Social Media Language Invades Advertising

Social media has invaded the world of advertising and terms like “fans” “friend request” “like” “social network” and “status update” are becoming the norm. And they aren’t just being used on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – they’re being used in mainstream advertising channels and aimed at people of all ages.

By using the “borrowed interest” from the social media world, these media buyers and advertisers are trying to align their brands with elements of popular culture. Social media is now so understandable that it’s part of the lexicon of how people relate.

Social media meets advertising mainstream. For example, the Toyota Venza crossover ad campaign focused on the idea of socializing by contrasting the ways that parents and their adult children enjoy their social life. In the print ad, the headline reads, “My mom hasn’t accepted my friend request yet. What could she be doing?” The image holds the answer – the “aging” mother is out driving her Venza to meet her friends for bike riding.

Ads for Snickers Peanut Butter Squared candy uses the word “like” and a familiar Facebook thumbs up. Sephora advertises beauty balm cream as the “must-have status update.” Chock Full o’Nuts coffee uses the term “social network.” Several other ads also make statements about socializing online and socializing in real life.

When it comes to good ads, it’s all about bringing the consumer’s real-world experiences with social media and connecting the advertising process to them. However, it’s a delicate balance between connecting and mocking. Several ads try to make the point that experiencing their products offline is better than spending time on social media.

It’s a popular approach, but experts warn that advertisers should be careful with this framework. It can easily turn into criticism of the digital social experience – something that lots of customers are enjoying. Using the social terms without making consumers feel bad about spending time on social media could make the difference between a great campaign and a flop.

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