As professional speakers, workshop facilitators and business strategists, we use a multimedia and edutaining approach to our presentation. This means that we are constantly looking for new multimedia clips, including music and especially adverts. Adverts attempt to lock into current and emerging trends, as well as connect with the heart and soul of individuals. And it this same approach that we use in our edutaining presentations.

When using multimedia clips, we obviously have to be aware of copyright issues. When using adverts, even though it seems strange that there might be a copyright issue for the free distribution of an advert, we make every effort to contact the companies who originally produced adverts that we would like to use. So if we see an advert in a movie theatre or on TV and we feel that this advert would be something that we would like to include in one of our presentations, the first stop is to get onto the company’s website and hopefully to discover that the company is progressive enough to have packaged a version of their advert for free download on their website. If the advert is not available on the website, we would then send an e-mail to the marketing or customer service department of that company and make our request for a copy of the advert to be sent to us. Failing that, we would simply send an e-mail to the company informing them that we will be attempting to record their advert off of TV and would then use our multimedia software to convert it into a digital version that we can then use.
We have never had a company deny us use of their adverts. But we have been exceptionally surprised and disappointed at the responses we do (or, in most cases, don’t) get.
Not many companies have seen the need to put adverts that they have produced onto their websites. This doesn’t make any sense to us. They have spent a huge amount of money to develop a TV or radio commercial. They have spent even more money putting it into media space and buying slots for it on TV. A fraction of that money needs to be spent to create a digital version of that advert and put it on their website, and a fraction of the price would be required to purchase the bandwidth and web hosting space to make this available for download. At that point these adverts would then be downloaded by people and would be sent at those people’s cost to their friends and relatives (we’ve all received these pesky, ‚gotta see this‛ type emails from distant cousins). The company concerned would continue to get exposure for their advert over a period of weeks, months and years, thus increasing brand recognition and everything that they are attempting that advert to do.
Certainly, when professional speakers who get to speak to hundreds of thousands of people every year, go a step further and even request to use the adverts and to show them publicly and highlight them in presentations, you would expect a company to jump onto that request. But we have been exceptionally disappointed. In some cases companies have not been willing to provide the adverts, but have been happy for us to use them if we have them. In almost all cases, though, when we have approached companies who do not have these adverts for download, and requested copies of the advert in any format that suits them, we simply get absolutely no reply at all. We do not even get an acknowledgement of our request.
This seems an exceptionally strange response in a world that is seeking every possible way to get exposure for brands. Here we are � we’ve made the effort to connect not just with the company’s advert as flighted in some anonymous media, but we’ve even gone onto the website, scoured that website, searched through it and made connection with the company’s values, and in fact made such a connection that it we’ve contacted the company and indicated that we’re impressed with that company’s approach and values and request the ability to provide free distribution of that company’s message, advert and branding. Hey, put like that, we should probably be charging these companies for what we do for them.
So, it boggles the mind that a company in that position would not even reply to our request. I suppose that there is nothing more that needs to be said at this point except that companies need to understand that in the 21st century – in an emerging connection economy – it is absolutely critical to make the most of every opportunity you have to connect with your clients and potential clients. Any opportunity to increase brand recognition and to assist customers, not just in providing them with your products, but also in providing them with an emotional experience that connects them to your company, every possible opportunity should be taken in this regard.
So for instance over the last few weeks we have made contact with a global airline and we have asked them for an entire series of their adverts and the rights to use these. What a wonderful opportunity this airline has to connect with a group of consultants who each spend more than three months away from home during the year and clocking up hundreds of thousands of air miles. What an opportunity to impress this group of consultants so much that they decide to use this airline as their official carrier on the routes that this airline serves. But we haven’t even had an acknowledgement of receipt of our (repeatedly sent) emails.
Just for the record, you might wonder if this is that the way we would make our decision about which airline to fly. Well, absolutely it is. We do not need to worry about the small differentials in prices between different airlines and we believe whole-heartedly in the connection economy and make decisions based on not what the product is or the service or how fast or frequently or cheap or high these aeroplanes fly, but on how the company connects with its clients. And that is directly linked to how we were treated when we requested the use of their adverts.
Companies need to realise that they have to extend their reach and make the money they put into advertising work for them. Why on earth they would then restrict the free distribution of their adverts is beyond us. Its time to extend your advertising reach, and wake up to the realities of the 21st century opportunities for branding.


If you would like us to show your adverts to over a quarter of a million people every year, totally free of charge, please send copies to Box 79012, Senderwood, 2145, South Africa. The best format is on CD-ROM, in Mpeg or similar, but we can convert from any format, including VHS, DVD and Hi-8. Mark them for my attention. They will be acknowledged.

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