When advertising speaks for itself

idea is worth a thousand words. Advertising, marketing, and
communication agencies know this better than anyone. Their job consists
of selling creative ideas that help their clients increase sales.
However, media agencies also need to promote themselves. In an
environment rich with digital platforms and social networks, agencies
can use self-promotional viral campaigns to position themselves in the competitive online universe. 

Starting point

is how media agencies represent themselves to the world. And the world,
in this case, is very different from the one they usually address in
their campaigns on behalf of clients. Media agencies typically reach
massive audiences and end users, but their own campaigns must fulfill a
double role: capture their audience and position themselves among
marketing managers, communications managers, professional associations,
and relentless competitors. 

demands and management of workflows usually relegate self-promotional
campaigns to low priority. Efforts to publicize their services are
either non-existent or worse, are assigned to inexperienced teams that
could make the most capable company look incompetent. Something like
this must account for the blunder we analyzed in a previous
articleprevious article, when the well-known advertising agency SapientNitro launched a self-promotional campaign that invited ridicule from the online advertising world. 

Viral phenomena 

the other hand, some media agencies’ self-promotional campaigns have
become major online success stories that reaped a positive response. One
example is the advertising agency John St., whose latest campaign on its own behalf has been viewed more than 1.3 million times on YouTube.

The idea behind their strategy was simple. Adopting the premise of popular online videos that feature animals, John St. produced a parody that claimed to launch a new service called catvertising,
based on the number of videos starring cats that have become web
successes. Of course, none of it is real, but the impact generated
really was.

videos starring pets and babies have become quintessential candidates
for viral phenomena. Most of these videos succeed by sheer chance, with
no press or marketing strategy to propel them. 

But for agencies like John St.,
the challenge is much clearer and more critical. They must position
themselves to attract business, and at the same time, they must
demonstrate the virtues on which they base their claim in the market,
thus risking their prestige in a context where competition is fierce. 

an advertising agency, self-promotional videos can be the beginning of
success. But there is a big risk. If the piece does not achieve the
desired results, the company can become a joke in a field it should
dominate. In viral campaigns, the line between success and failure is
alarmingly thin, placing advertisers in a precarious position. Should
they risk their prestige to the vagaries of social networks?