Pinterest’s first US ad campaign spans Times Square, Facebook, Instagram, Mic and New York Times

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Pinterest will debut its first ad campaign in the US on Tuesday. Called “What If,” the campaign is designed to get people thinking about the platform as a place to explore new ideas, even if the undertaking may be an uncomfortable one. It appears to attempt to situate Pinterest — which has always been something of a hybrid between Google and Facebook — as a more serendipitous search engine and a less superficial social network, somewhere for people to find themselves from others’ examples.

“Our What if campaign focuses on vulnerable moments people face in their lives, from everyday to epic, when they’re just about to take a risk. The stakes can feel high any time you try something new, whether you’re wearing bold lipstick, ditching the conventional wedding or breaking free from gender norms. We want to show the transformative power of reimagining risks as possibilities,” according to a company blog post announcing the campaign. The post explains that, instead of actors or models, Pinterest used its employees and their friends in the campaign’s ads.

While the campaign is Pinterest’s first in the US, it is not the company’s first-ever campaign. Last year, Pinterest ran a similar effort in the United Kingdom that positioned the social-slash-search platform as a place for people to discover ideas.

Pinterest’s campaign will span out-of-home ads like billboards in Times Square, video and photo ads on Facebook and Instagram, a branded pop-up channel on digital publisher Mic’s site and guides related to the “What If” theme created with The New York Times’s branded content team that will be hosted on the newspaper publisher’s site.

Pinterest’s internal creative team developed the campaign alongside freelance creative director and copywriter Janet Champ, an industry veteran who’s worked on campaigns for Apple, Calvin Klein, Dove Men’s and Nike. The company worked with media agency Giant Spoon to place the ads.

About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.


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