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The Scuba Diving Method: Finding better native content under the surface

Nov 22, 2022

Alexander Aude, the Executive Creative Producer at the Danish content marketing bureau Brand Movers, employs many tools when creating native digital content and branded videos.

One of his favourites is what he calls the Scuba Diving Method.

“The Scuba Diving Method is a tool you can use to spice up the digital format,” Aude tells the Native Advertising Institute.

The premise of the technique is that possible ideas and concepts for great video content are like fish swimming in the ocean, waiting for a savvy diver to put a mask on and find them.

Aude suggests picturing a diver beginning a dive just below the surface. They will see a number of varieties of fish. As they descend down to 20 metres, there will most likely be some of the same fish - the same ideas - but new species of fish will also be revealed.

“It's a way to break down and go deep into the layers of the story, the script, the interview or whatever you've got and ask ‘how can I challenge myself?’,” he says.

Getting the most out of your budget

Aude says the scuba method is a great way to make use of the limited budgets often available for branded content.

“Doing classic TV commercials, big branding films or big image films is a very different thing from native content or content marketing. And the budget will obviously be very, very different,” he says. “You really have to play with what you've got in the digital formats.”

Aude points out that when making branded content for digital marketing, one film is rarely enough.

“You have to look at the whole year and see where in your distribution strategy you need to post a film about which subject,” he says. “If you want to produce, for example, ten films, you can’t throw a Hollywood budget at each one.”

Aude says that rather than be a burden, the smaller budgets available for branded content can often stimulate creativity.

“I would say you actually get a bit sharper working with the smaller budgets because you can make a lot of easy decisions if you only need to do one film and you have a high budget.”

More fish

He points out that creating more content also requires developing more ideas and themes, and that’s where the diver going deeper to find more ‘fish’ comes in.

“It’s a different way of working from both a creative and strategic perspective,” Aude says of the Scuba Diving Method.

He says that no matter how you approach it, doing native means you have to make people want to choose your content. And that is both a challenge and an opportunity.

“There has to be some kind of a driver or some kind of a trigger, and sometimes that's hard. Doing cool stuff for Nike or Audi, that’s easy to create some pow with.”

But while your native project may not be as “sexy” as a Nike ad, that is where employing the Scuba Diving Method will help you create something that people really want to engage with, rather than simply look at.

Start fishing early

Aude advises taking that deep dive early in the process.

“The development phase is actually really important because that's where you find out if a concept is too weak,” he says. “Then you can spice it up using perhaps a specific case, a person that would help add some kind of influence, a creative idea or it could be something new in the storyline."

Story by Ray Weaver

Ray Weaver is a professional communicator with experience as both a broadcast and print journalist. He was the Public Information Officer for several government jurisdictions in the US, including the Governor of the State of Maryland. He is also an experienced voice-over artist, actor and published author and singer/songwriter.

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