Advertising Week Panel Offers New Twist on Plato: Brands Should ‘Know Thy Audience’

Advertising Week Panel Offers New Twist on Plato Brands Should ‘Know Thy Audience’Plato was the first to tell humankind “know thyself,” as the root of knowledge was believed to be self-knowledge.

When it comes to native advertising, however, the adage gets a new twist: “know thy audience.”

The recommendation to native marketers reportedly surfaced often during a recent Advertising Week panel entitled “Make the Logo Smaller – How Brands Win When Advertising Takes a Back Seat to Content.” Matt Creamer and Tom Buontempo of the New York-based agency KBS+ served as hosts for the panel.

“Over the decades, our editorial team has learned what works and what doesn’t,” said Rick Hamann, Senior Vice President of Onion Labs, the in-house marketing team at The Onion. “We’re very keen to our audience and what they like.”

That knowledge, noted Hamann, helps his crew of comedic writers work with brands and agencies to develop advertising content that “resonates with readers while still effectively portraying the advertiser’s story.”

Panelist James Del, Executive Director at Gawker Studio (the creative studio at the heart of Gawker Media), agreed.

“It’s an ongoing conversation with clients about balancing what they want with what we know works on our site,” Del says. “We know that clickbaity headlines that work on Facebook won’t necessarily get clicked on”

Most clients come around to the obvious. They have to meet their audience.

“Very occasionally, we have had to run [advertising content] that we know isn’t funny,” revealed Hamann. “But 99 percent of the time, the client comes around to our ideas because we know what our audience likes.”

“Both Del and Hamann said they get most of their projects via direct contact from brands or agencies looking to create content that will reach the Gawker and Onion audiences, respectively,” noted a piece in MarketingLand on the panel.