Choose Your Own Adventure

Remember that popular genre of book from your childhood? Rather dark stories where the reader helped to navigate the story’s fictional hero through a series of perilous encounters without getting killed by making critical decisions at different points. Well, this literary genre is informing a whole new wave of advertising.


We like to be in control. There is nothing more painful than sitting through an advertisement that holds absolutely no interest for the consumer, and advertisers are beginning to act upon this important component. I have no doubt that advertisers have been aware of this fact for a long time, but there were a number of hurdles in their way.

Traditional advertising channels don’t kowtow to the consumer very well. With the exception of understanding the broad consumer segment that a TV show or radio program reaches, viewers do not have the opportunity to be individually targeted by relevant advertising or control their advertising. This is of course with the exception of switching channels which is the last thing any television or radio network desires.

Digital has allowed for this to change. But only rather recently is it being adopted into mainstream digital advertising.

Mimicking the style of ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’, online advertising is allowing viewers to tailor the advertising to their needs. A phenomenon which has recently been embraced by Westfield. And Westfield is the prime example for this kind of advertising.

Westfield Shopping Centres attract a huge and diverse audience of consumers. Some people will arrive looking for cosmetics, others will be there to do some grocery shopping, see the latest movie or purchase some high-end men’s fashion. The possibilities are endless. And this means that it is near impossible to provide any meaningful advertising that reaches a large majority of their audience. In order to remain relevant, they have to remain generic. But not anymore!

This latest campaign featuring Ellen-favourites Sophia-Grace and Rosie, has taken this ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style to heart and created several communications which can appeal to a broad range of their targeted demographic. Situated on YouTube, these communications open with a short snippet positioning Westfield as the place for your one-stop Christmas gift shopping. Then comes the interesting part . . .

Before you are allowed to watch your video, the advertisement presents the viewer with a number of different options allowing them to choose their own interesting advertising. Interested in gifting a dinner set? Select Homewares. Interested in finding that perfect DVD for your nephew? Entertainment. Interested the latest fashion? You guessed it, select fashion. Each of these options then lead the consumer off to more targeted advertising.

With tracking and tagging technology, digital marketers are now able to make these assumptions about you before you even get to the advertising. But when the public view of advertising often provokes fear and invasion of privacy, sometimes it is a good idea to put the consumer back in the driving seat.