Advertising Fireworks, Social Bonfires

By Kelly Wright

“If advertising is a firework, then social media is a bonfire”. This phrase was coined back in 2009 by innovator John V Willshire. But what does this analogy mean for marketers?

Fireworks = Advertising

Think of advertising like fireworks – a big bang that demands attention. They’re great for raising awareness, and good ones draw people in from miles around. But they rarely leave a lasting impression – they fizzle out and leave people looking for the next bang to capture their attention. You have to keep lighting more and more to keep people interested, which can be expensive.

Bonfire = Social Media

If advertising is a firework, then social media is a bonfire. Building a bonfire takes time and it can be an effort to keep it going. It may go out but persevere. Slow to start, collaborative to build, it slowly gets bigger and brighter. As the fire gets bigger, more people are attracted to the warmth until it becomes the place to be. It’s where you make your longer term engagements, sharing and shaping opinions. From a small start you can end up with a hotbed of activity, just like social media.

Bonfire Night = 360 Campaign

Firework Display - 5th November - EnglandLike Bonfire Night without fireworks, advertising and social media work best when used together. Think of it as an integrated approach, not one or the other. If you have a raging bonfire already, use a few fireworks to create a buzz and bring people to the fire. If your fireworks are already grabbing attention, keep your audience by getting a good bonfire going and building a relationship.


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