Tumblr has today announced its Creatrs Network: a new campaign that will pay notable Tumblr artists to create advertisements for major corporations. This is a strong marketing move that has vast implications for the field of native advertising, namely further blurring the lines between marketers and consumers.
The New Native Advertising
The people that are currently on Tumblr grew up on the Internet, and have been raised to outright ignore advertisements over a lifetime of constant exposure to commercials, banners, and pop-ups. Recent years have seen native advertisements mimic user posts on social media in order to deal with our “ad-blindness,” but corporate attempts at being cool often falter and can be an absolute turnoff for the brand.
So here we arrive at the next iteration of native advertising: instead of trying to start hashtag campaigns and putting together misguided attempts to go viral, large corporations will instead use the Creatrs Network to commission advertisements from respected Tumblr artists, videographers, and graphic designers with already established fanbases.
Since these users have built up their follower bases organically, they lend these advertisements an air of credibility that convinces audiences to be more receptive to marketing. It’s the digital equivalent of hiring graffiti artists to paint murals for the city.
Somewhere Between Art and Science
The Creatrs solution is a fair compromise between hamfisted native-advertising and original user artwork. In terms of marketing personalization, no one else has more intimate knowledge about a consumer group’s demographic, social circle, and subculture than the consumers themselves. In addition to the obvious advertising benefits, Tumblr users are also incentivized to participate in the Creatrs Network because it is a legitimate shot at building a career out of graphic design and advertising, stuff that they pursue on their own.
The Creatrs Network is a great example of how marketing constantly toes to lines between “science” and “art.” Big data continues to be a boon for marketing personalization, but it still takes a certain awareness of the cultural zeitgeist that no amount of academic study or demographic research can duplicate. This is a step forward that empowers young artists and elevates choice advertisements to the level of art.