Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

From the beginning of time to 2003, humanity created around 5bn gigabytes of digitally stored information, including books, movies, music, e-mails, PowerPoint presentations and photos. Today, we create the same amount of content every 10 minutes.

To survive and maybe even prosper in this fast-paced information ecosystem, we are having to learn to ration and control our attention. In fact, attention is now perhaps the most valuable resource an individual has – and it grows increasingly valuable the more content processing demands are placed on it.

The true art of capturing and holding attention is understanding how to be strategically and practically creative in their use.

Here are some principles that we have found useful:

1. Co-create, collaborate and blur the lines

Many of the best mobile campaigns involve co-creation between a brand (or brands), prominent personalities and a community. A great example of this is 2016's VW Polo Beats By Dr Dre campaign – the VW Polo now comes with speakers and an amp from Beats By Dr Dre. Ogilvy Cape Town led the campaign for VW that brought #011 Beats and SA's hottest rapper, KWESTA, and one of its coolest music producers, DABONE, to collaborate together to create a track celebrating Cape Town and its nocturnal spirit while cruising its streets in the new Polo VW. Users could follow the team live, and suggest lyrics for the new song being created. The result? 1.17m views, a 197% rise in Instagram engagement versus auto benchmark and 13,000 track downloads. The insight? Lines are meant to be blurred!

2. Build for people as they are, not where they are

There is no one-size-fits-all content environment. At the very least, most people are in one of three different content states. They are either on the go (immediate, short-form content), leaning forward (interactive content) or leaning back (immersive content). Great campaigns factor this reality into their design.

3. Move fast and build in real time

Creatives must be prepared to move fast, perfecting their craft as they go. Take, for example, FCB’s recent work for SA Tourism. The agency created, in my opinion, the best travel case on the planet, of 176 insightful videos of the world. They did it in just three days. They broke all the rules, using the 176 videos to develop a year’s worth of content in three weeks. And it worked. 4. Experiment and explore to meet the creativity challenge

This is one of the most challenging creative periods in history – and also the richest. You need to know your playground, but also how to play and explore within it. Unchain yourself! How? Dig into the technical details of what you do while also practising letting go conceptually as an applied skill.

5. Mobile video is different

Creating great mobile video isn’t a matter of editing conventional video down. I personally consider it a new genre and the rules are being defined as we speak. It takes more craft to write a shorter letter, as we all know! This is a new age for creativity. Even from outside the mobile world we are seeing leaders of creativity from other worlds breaking the old rules.

It’s a huge wave, let’s ride it

This is an exciting time to be developing creative content. Yes, there are rules, but they pretty much demand to be broken. The content wave is huge, and it’s open to everyone, from popes to geeks and rocking rollers. So let’s ride it!

* Saad is head of Creative Shop, Facebook, Middle East & Africa

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