Imagine discovering the latest addition to your high street was a brand new store inviting you to design your own robot. Not some whirring lunk, but a hyper-real, synthetic human.
After the initial drop-jaw amazement, how would you react? Perhaps fire off an excited tweet or upload a futuristically filtered photo of the storefront to Instagram?
This scenario played out for real on London’s Regent Street last year. And, no, it wasn’t the first act in a nightmarish tale of robot rebellion. The pseudo store — and the fake TV ads for ‘Persona Synthetics’ — were part of a geniously designed marketing campaign for the UK Channel TV 4 drama, "Humans."
This was non-linear marketing at its smartest, converging online and offline experiences to shape the channel’s most successful drama in 20 years.
What Is Non-linear Marketing?
A straightforward TV advert is a fine example of linear marketing. It takes place at a set time, for a set duration. The audience views the content. The end.
But what if we stamp a hashtag in one corner, drawing our audience to a Twitter account?
From there, they peel off to a Vine feed, or a behind-the-scenes YouTube video. They share the online content with their own social networks, comment on it, and their friends do the same. Some are even inspired to create their own, user-generated, content, becoming part of the narrative, shaping its destiny as it pinballs around platforms and media in a manner that is distinctly non-linear.
The Rise of Omniscreening
In this digitally connected age, the best video marketing campaigns pursue a non-linear strategy. In fact, audience viewing habits make the non-linear model almost impossible to ignore.
We’re all guilty of swiping through our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram feeds during TV ad breaks, or googling a TV program while we’re still watching it. Consuming content in this way is called omniscreening, and harnessing it allows video marketers to break out of the TV screen, colonizing multiple platforms and devices with their brand narrative.