Along with six and a half million other people Sunday night, I was settling in to watch the next-to-last episode of ‘Breaking Bad’. A minute or two before the show started, an announcer came on and in no uncertain terms urged me to log on to a special URL, and ‘use both screens’ to get the ‘full experience’.
The first thought that lit up in my brain was that this is going to be something that will start to happen much more often. If a TV show is hot, they’re going to want to try and get you to participate online. After all, getting fans to contribute content – even if it’s just commentary – is one of the primary missions of social brand-building.
But I didn’t do it. Call me a contrarian.
However, it made me think about something else. There’s beginning to be a backlash about ‘always being connected’. People are starting to recognize that personal relationships are suffering from spending too much time attached to mobile devices. You can see it everywhere. Faces intently focused on the small screen rather than on whatever, or whomever happens to be nearby.
Some households are instituting a ‘no cellphones at the dinner table’ policy. Or no screens whatsoever after 11pm. And some parents are restricting the amount of time their children can spend texting, posting on Facebook and watching videos on YouTube.
So here’s a question. What would happen if your brand came out in support of ‘time offline’? Of course, on some level that would fly in the face of current tactics. You can just hear someone in marketing say ‘But we WANT them to reply to our Tweets and see what we have to say on our blog.’
True enough. But I would suggest that the ultimate goal is to make people feel good about your brand. And when you encourage something that only does good for your audience, they will take note. It will stand out. It’s zigging while everyone else zags.
You might just improve some lives, and gain a bunch of very valuable goodwill. And my guess is – somewhat ironically – your idea will probably be shared online as well.