Brenner Thomas has identified a seemingly new trend in advertising - the inanimate spokesobject. Quaker Oats has its Quaker gentleman, Travelocity has its Roaming Gnome and Burger King has its smiling, plastic King. Any more of this and we'll start hearing from the unions.
Receiving increased attention, yet created six months ago by The Pointer Institute Fellows Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson, a film, called EPIC, looks forward to the world of 2014 in which Google controls most everything and the New York Times is relegated to a "print only newsletter for the elite and the elderly." While certainly a plausible future, it's not as rosy as it might seem with the film concluding most content will be useless, trivial, unsubstantiated conjecture. Here is a transcript of the film.
Focusing on how marketers can capitalize on the increased adoption of broadband, LearningCraft Founder and Author Rob Graham led a panel which included Kraft's Carol Walker, Broadband Enterprise CEO Matt Wasserlauf and Klipmart CEO Chris Young. Much of the discussion focused on the repurposing of video for the web. Kraft's Walker cited several case studies, one of which was a campaign to promote recipes via online instructional videos which, successfully, garnered 400,000 views.
As with an earlier session dealing with marketers functioning as web broadcasters, this session was not able to answer the question of metrics. Currently, there appear to be no reliable and accurate sources to gauge the success of these broadband online efforts as effectively as marketers would like. All panelists promise it is a top priority.
Kicking off the sparcely attended Marketer As Broadcaster session, Carat Interactive's John Durham referred to the teacher who created the mac commercial and how marketers and consumers are now creating their own content and advertising. The panel consisted of JibJab's Greg Spiridellis, WorldNow's Omar Karim and Target's Scott Heimes who each spoke to the growing trend of marketer and consumer created content.
Marking the 10th anniversary of publishing Web Digest For Marketers email newsletter, Founder Larry Chase releases his Top 10 Trends for the Next 10 Years in Internet Marketing.
"We've had a good hit rate when identifying the real shifts in Internet Marketing from those that are just hype, and there's been a lot of that as we all know" noted Chase. "Over these past 10 years, my editors and I use the 'gut check' method. Generally, the hot trends are simple to explain and understand. Furthermore, if we ourselves already use or plan on using the shifting technologies and methods as consumers and as Internet Marketing practitioners, it's a good bet our calls are on the money." Click more to see 6 of the Top 10 Trends Chase sees in Internet Marketing for the next 10 years
At least they're not gay
Three quarters of people surveyed by the Pew Research Center said that they wanted to see tougher enforcement of curbs on indecency in the media, particularly broadcast TV when children might be present. 60 percent said they wanted to see broadcast decency standards ported over to cable, and more than two thirds wanted to goose fines up further. Just about a third of all respondents said that they were concerned about content that showed homosexuals or dealt with gay issues. That same third of respondents later indicated they meant that concern in a very manly, decisive manner, not in an empathetic, whiny way.
Ad Age Columnist Bob Garfield has, as you have undoubtedly heard, written a lengthy piece, finally online, about the future of advertising and the chaos that future holds as the industry morphs into something very different from what it is today. While no one can truly predict the future, Garfield has concisely and accurately put forth argument after argument pointing to a future that, left unchecked, will crumble beneath us like a meteor devouring the planet.
Writing on iMediaConnection, CooperKatz & Company VP Steve Rubel discusses the growing usage of tags to categorize content using keywords. Tagging sites such as del.ico.us, Flickr and Wists have popped up specifically to store content tagged by those who submit content, be it pictures, news stories or blog entries. Rubel posits the next logical (inevitable?) step as tagging grows: tagvertising. With tag aggregation sites, it will be very easy for companies to monitor what is being said about them as well as to advertise on tag term specific pages thereby achieving interest-based targeting.
New York Times Columnist Stuart Elliott takes a look at a developing trend whereby advertisers are modelling their commercials after the tried and true game show format. Orbitz, Bank of New York, Cingular, FedEx and Old Navy are a few of the marketers who have glommed onto the trend. Orbitz has hired game show host oldtimer Wink Martindale, host of High Rollers and Tic Tac Dough three decades ago, to host a series of the company's game show style commercial.
Nielsen is having a bit of a tiff lately with ad agencies over its provision of television ratings. While the majority of ad agency execs want commercials rated, not the shows they air within, Nielsen claims they have already offered those ratings to agencies. Agencies have countered saying those ratings, 60-second unit measurements, do not adequately serve what's really needed, the measurement of actual commercial ratings. The way the 60-second unit ratings are taken do not align exactly with when commercials actually air. That is the sticky point agencies have with this offer from Nielsen.
This new method of commercial measurement, if it sees the light of day, could foster some radically different methods of television commercialization. If it's commercials that are measured and not the containing programs, all of the promotion that goes into hyping a television show to viewers in order to achieve high ratings could now go towards hyping commercials to viewers instead. Imagine NBC, faced with radically lower ratings because of ad-skippage, bathroom breaks, etc. The network would have to insure a high level of commercial viewership to maintain its ad rates. Conceivably, NBC would have to do whatever it could to make viewers watch commercials.
In theory, NBC would have to offer incentives to viewers to watch commercials. These incentives could be monetary in nature or come in other forms. Aside from possible Nielsen ratings that would "count" commercial viewership, embedded within the commercials (or before or after a commercial break) would be some sort of code or proof mechanism for the viewer to redeem. This would be necessary, not to prove viewership (although it could serve as a form of comparison to Nielsen ratings) because Nielsen would provide that proof with its new commercial ratings. It would be needed simply to get viewers to watch so high commercial ratings would be achieved for the network, then reported back by Nielsen, then used by networks as a basis from which to set rates for advertisers.
This could dramatically alter the definition of a commercial. While consumers might be swayed financially into watching a commercial, after a time, if commercials remain as boring as they currently are, no amount of money will get consumers to watch when they can so easily skip commercials. Commercials will have to take on elements of what I think is one of the better forms of promotion, the movie/TV trailer. Trailers, whether for good programming or bad, always seem to create the sense that you absolutely positively have to watch the movie/show being promoted. Does any current commercial today come close to that? Yes, promoting content is very different than promoting and ad but we're talking theory here.
That's just one idea. There could be many additional means to make commercials a "must watch" activity. A series of commercials could take on the form of a soap opera or serial drama where viewers would have to watch from day to day/week to week to either follow the story line or to receive other "incentives" for financial redemption. In this sense, commercials become a form of the programming.
In essence, this new economic model would compel networks to pay (or compel in some other very powerful way) viewers to watch commercials so that they can continue to sustain their current ad supported business model. Extrapolating this further, the current model is flipped on its head. Advertisers become producers and the programming becomes the commercial.