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LinkedIn tells advertisers that business marketing doesn't belong near pictures of dogs in costumes

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Key Points
  • LinkedIn took light jabs at ad competitors like TikTok as it launched a new ad campaign.
  • "If your business message is sandwiched between the skateboarder and your best friend's vacation photos, it'll feel out of place," LinkedIn says in a new post.
A dog dressed as a prison guard participates in the 17th annual "Doggie Costume Halloween Party" at Riverside Park in New York.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

LinkedIn's new ad campaign tells advertisers that the right place for business-to-business marketing isn't alongside pictures of cute puppies or viral videos. 

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions' new "Fish Out of Water" campaign, which launched Wednesday in the U.S. and U.K., tells advertisers they can reach business professionals on LinkedIn when they're in a "ready-to-do-business mindset." 

In a blog post, the Microsoft-owned professional network lightly jabbed at TikTok and other ad competitors: "Sure, your buyers enjoy watching a skateboarder roll down a hill while lip-synching to Fleetwood Mac and drinking Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice. … If your business message is sandwiched between the skateboarder and your best friend's vacation photos, it'll feel out of place." 

The company's post also shares which kinds of content work best on LinkedIn, whether it's thought leadership, career-boosting advice or conversation starters.

LinkedIn's new ad
LinkedIn

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in January that LinkedIn Marketing Solutions saw its business increase by 50% in the quarter as "advertisers increasingly turn to the platform as the trusted way to reach professionals ready to do business." LinkedIn saw a 23% year-over-year increase in revenue in what Nadella said was a record quarter for its ad business.

The Marketing Solutions unit's clients include brands like American Express, Adobe and Chase, LinkedIn said.

The newest campaign is part of a larger brand platform launched by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions in June that includes the motto: "Do business where business is done."

Working with agency 215 McCann, LinkedIn found that three categories of online content rose to the top for a desired marketing audience. One was the "oddly satisfying" genre, which can include videos of squishing colorful kinetic sand. A second was food content, including "cheese pull" videos and how-it's-made recipe content. The third was animal content — specifically, dogs in costumes. 

"Using these insights, we then created the 'Fish Out of Water' assets that we're using for that thumb-stopping power in the LinkedIn feed, because we know those [are] categories that on the internet, generally, marketers are engaging with," LinkedIn senior director of marketing Keith Richey said.

The campaign will appear on LinkedIn, trade publications such as Adweek and Ad Age and platforms like YouTube, the company said. Richey added that LinkedIn is trying to reach both C-suite decision-makers and marketing practitioners.

"The platform is like the last place you would expect to see something that first glance feels out of place in such a professional environment, to make that bigger point about how marketers can take advantage of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions," 215 McCann chief creative officer Scott Duchon said.

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