November 16, 2016

All aboard the content truck, Mr Clarkson.

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I turned on the TV this morning.

Actually, no I didn’t. I picked up my iPhone, opened up my TV app and tapped BBC 1. TV has changed. Or rather, viewing platforms and habits have.

topgear.jpg

I then proceeded to watch a snippet of an interview with Jeremy Clarkson with the BBC’s Arts and Entertainment Editor, Will Gompertz. 

I sat somewhat transfixed as Mr Clarkson was frank. 

“Why didn’t he just hang up his hat?” Mr Gompertz asks.

“One would become an alcoholic” he says. “He likes working” he says.

He was having a ‘stressy time’. It was getting harder and harder. Bigger problems. Lack of support in creating the programme.

Of course, with The Grand Tour, it’s different now.  Give Amazon in Los Angeles a film, and they squeal with sheer delight. 

The BBC wouldn’t want to be seen to like something immediately. They’d be judged.

He then goes on to explain that Top Gear was underestimated in terms of making it a success after he, May and Hammond left. 

How does he put it? “When you look at the credits, you don’t see ‘written by…”

A very good point. It was indeed underestimated. 

Top Gear is a show that gives the appearance of three hapless lads fooling about with cars like it was some testosterone-fuelled stag do. It is. But, to make it look like unscripted, unrehearsed mayhem, takes skill.

Clarkson’s point is simple. The content of the show is absolutely everything. Probably why more people watched Top Gear than any other factual show in the world, according to the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records. And Jeremy Clarkson has a shiny plaque to prove it. 


It’s exactly the same with marketing.


Clarkson’s interview is, in itself, content. It’s available online (actually, the full piece isn’t available anywhere at the moment. The best we can find is here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37969741). But no doubt it’s coming. 

It’s interesting ‘content’. This guileless interview with Clarkson, although briefly touching on avoiding the pitfalls of falling into a void of alcoholism, he talks about the importance of producing great content.

But in reality, it’s an oh-so-frank chat where he discusses how everything is better now he’s working with Amazon. He’s creating a new show (incidentally with bigger-scale tom-foolery and bunterish lickspittle-ability now they have more money to throw around). 

And he’s telling everyone via the BBC.
  
Everyone is transfixed on this content. It’s compelling stuff. 

Ok, so to the point. Great content is absolutely vital. But remember, however, that we cannot and must not focus on content marketing, per se. It’s bandied about like some over-used and abused piece of terminology like it’s the holy grail of all marketingdom. 
Stop. We need to focus on marketing. And do it well. All marketing is ‘content’.  

While so many agencies or ‘content marketing specialists’ are focussing on the delivery system as being the most important thing, we need to focus on what makes the content good. The ideas. The real nitty gritty. If we don’t, we simply create digital landfill. Oh, and while we’re at it, what delights will the trio’s Drivetribe.com offer us? Time will tell once it’s off the starting line.

Fact is, it’s about being interesting. Simple, really.

Create something interesting and people will be interested. 

And here’s the irony. Thanks BBC. In an effort to bring us engaging content, and boost your ratings, you’ve added to the promotional Clarkson juggernaut. 
A great big content delivery system that right now has a rather large word emblazoned on the side. 

Amazon. 

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Alan Stobie

Associate Creative Director

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