Shane Smith = Advertisers Need To Leave Their Comfort Zone

VICE Magazine, one of the world’s fastest growing media outlets has been upping their game the past few years with their “media-agnostic” approach.  Over the years, Vice has rooted itself in a key demographic: Millennials. Their quest to cover non-traditional media is why they are developing at an alarming rate, but it’s the non-traditional ways that sometimes prove to be an issue, especially in advertising.

Advertisers are afraid to break away from the traditional methods of promoting content. With technology constantly evolving and adapting, they feel they are unsure of whether they should buy into a specific technology, or to wait until there is a more clear and concise ability to monitor data.

The truth is it’s already here.

Shane Smith, CEO of VICE had this to say:

“When a lot of people start doing [online] video, they will hire someone with pedigree from TV, who brings with them their producers and camera people. Right then you’ve already lost because it’s going to look like TV but worse. It will be expensive and you’re not going to be able to make a lot of it.

We go to the tech colleges and get the best shooters and the best cutters. There could be
a 23-year-old kid straight out of school and [we say to them] ‘okay, now you’re running
a TV show’. If you want to be successful with millennials, the [content makers] also have to be millennials because it’s their own language. That is why TV has had a difficult time because they keep hiring TV people, and commercials hire commercials people. You have to hire people that aren’t corrupted by that world.”

VICE handles topics that stand out. While big news agency’s like FOX or CNN cover stories from the front lines, there is a standard that they have to adhere to in order to present it to the public. With digital, there are no guidelines. VICE puts their team in the middle of combat and provides viewers with an unedited approach to media. The media they provide is for a more mature audience, but with the use of digital, it is more easily accessible and can be monitored for efficiency.

“Our problem has been that when we started doing native advertising, CMOs said, ‘That’s exactly what we want,’ and media planners didn’t. We want to work with agencies. We want to make great shit, and make things that they can get buy-in for; however, it’s a war, because people don’t want to get out of standard operating procedure.”

The success of VICE Magazine has long been driven by their content. They call their own shots and will appear to do so as they climb the media ladder into new mediums.