What is Content Marketing? Even Big Brands are Blowing It.

What is Content Marketing? Even Big Brands are Blowing It.

This past Saturday night UFC 208 was on TV and since I don’t have a TV anymore (long story) I didn’t get to watch. I’m still a huge fight fan though, so I did what I usually do and clicked over to sherdog.com to follow the play-by-play commentary. This, admittedly, isn’t as much fun as watching the fights themselves, but it’s better than nothing.

Anyway, at the top of the page I was on was a banner ad for Bumble Bee tuna. Here is the ad in question…

Notice that the Call-to-Action is “Discover Recipes”…ok cool, so if I click on this banner I will get directed to a recipes page, right? Based on the copy, that’s my (logical) expectation. Owning a content marketing agency in Boise myself, I was actually kind of excited to see a big brand trying it out. However, the link to the banner takes me here:


As you can see, this isn’t exactly a recipes page or content page. It’s just a thinly veiled sales page. In fact, the video is just a blatant commercial for the product. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that necessarily, except for the fact that what I was promised wasn’t delivered.

I mean, I guess technically I can get to the recipes page by clicking on the tiny little Recipes tab at the top or scrolling down to the bottom to the section on recipes, but why are they putting me through the paces to get to what I am actually there for? Why not just take me directly to the recipes page like the ad promised? Instead of the landing page (i.e. sales page) they could have sent me here:


That would have made much more inherent sense. It’s almost like someone in the marketing department said, “Hey, we should try this content marketing thing, I hear it’s all the rage” but they are so ingrained with how they have been doing marketing for the last 15 years on the internet that they couldn’t help themselves and had to take a good idea and screw it up.

Now maybe Bumble Bee’s response is, “Well hey, we weren’t trying to do content marketing here, this was just an ad.” Ok fair enough. But if that’s the case then don’t give a confusing call-to-action! Just be clear and transparent with it. “Buy now” or “Get a Coupon” or whatever. Don’t mislead me with a CTA that promises one thing and then delivers another.

Is this a big deal? Maybe not to most, but this is the sort of thing that gives marketing and advertising a bad name. Even worse, it’s what kills your results and causes you to miss your numbers.

Bigger than that though is the missed opportunity! On the recipes page itself they could have made an offer for a 150 page recipe book that could be downloaded along with a coupon to purchase a can of tuna at their local supermarket or right there online. This would have allowed them to gather email addresses and add subscribers to an email list. It would have allowed them to build a relationship. Test out new product ideas. Whatever the case may be.

Their recipes page is a great piece of online real estate. It is very well done and a lot of thought was put into it. Why not leverage it? You don’t always have to go for the short term money. Sometimes (read: almost always) the long game is the best game.

The point here is they blew it. And I can almost guarantee you that they are going to run these ads for some indeterminable period of time, their KPIs are going to take a shit, the CEO is going to yell at people, and the powers that be will conclude, “Well, content marketing/digital advertising doesn’t work.”

This kind of thing drives me nuts. I’m not saying that Bumble Bee shouldn’t advertise. They absolutely should. Buy your TV ads, do your in-store promotions, whatever. But, for the love-of-all-that’s-holy please stop pretending that your advertising is content marketing. Because it’s not.

For an example of content marketing that is being done right by a small company check out AshleyManorMemoryCare.com and visit their Resource Center. Now that’s how you build a content marketing machine! Oh, and did I mention we are the driving force behind that website? If you’d like to learn more about how content marketing can help you drive business results then please fill out our Start a Project form below...

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