Canadian App Mixing Up Advertising Space

Today’s “Mad Men” are undoubtedly getting stretched to their creative limits. So much noise, so much clutter, and so much fragmentation—engaging an audience has never been more challenging.

It’s the age old question of trying to deliver the biggest bang for the marketing and advertising buck. There’s one undeniable truth in the digital realm: interrupting the audience has no future.

Today’s untethered, mobile audience wants to engage with their content anytime, anywhere, and on any screen. The post-mortem is being done on traditional advertising. The audience will find a way around advertising they don’t want to pay attention to, from simply ignoring it to actively avoiding it. There is enough content and media out there that the audience is no longer held hostage.

The notion and mechanics of what’s being termed “native advertising” is quickly evolving. Advertisers and publishers are developing sponsored articles and content that was produced by or on behalf of the advertiser, to appear the same way as regular content. The approach is becoming popular, but it’s not without some missteps (such as The Atlantic’s recent Church of Scientology native advertising gaffe).

Chad McFarlin is the founder and CEO of Vancouver’s Tribal Interactive. With 18 years of marketing and producing games at Nintendo, Electronic Arts and THQ (Relic Entertainment), McFarlin has a great lens on not only what sells, but how to sell. Seeing this seismic shift in the ad space, he’s combining all of his experience and working at redefining this somewhat nascent world of “native” advertising. They have just released the newest version of a really unique free photo sharing app for remixing all of your favorite images and photos. The new memes you’ll create alone makes it worth having on your phone. is born out of loving the shared experience. So much content is now being user generated on mobile devices. Looking at photos from our friends or people you follow is one of the many ways to stay engaged. Photos are a significant shared experience. The world speaks with images, and in many cases responding or engaging isn’t easy. is designed to create an opportunity to express feelings and thoughts about those memorable images. It’s now possible to create and become a part of that new story, which your friends add to, riff on, and share their own way. is how advertising is going to adapt to the change in media consumption and production. Most native ads place branding between the content people actually want to consume, but moving where the advertisement appears is not going to win over audiences. There’s simply too many other options vying to capture audience interest.

Content really is now more than just King or Queen; it’s the Dictator of our digital domain, and the advertisements of the future will have to be relevant, entertaining, and shareable to survive.