The Post Advertising Age

A fantastic piece in this week’s always interesting US Advertising Age by Bob Garfield, entitled, Chaos Scenario 2.0

Here are some excerpts, but I really advise going to source on this. His basic thesis is that the advertising industry is still predicated on the mass audience and TV and it will not survive the transition to the new world. If this was Edelman or a web 2.0 zealot saying these things, you could apply the usual “they would say that wouldn’t they” discount, but he’s a writer for the trade publication of the US advertising and marketing industry. I may have missed it, but I don’t remember Campaign in the UK sticking their constituency in the eye in quite this sort of way.

And just in case the symbolism escaped you, don’t forget the first song that ever played on MTV: “Video Killed the Radio Star,” by the Buggles. Ironic, eh? But not as ironic as this: The latest thing the MTV generation has begun losing interest in is MTV, where ratings fell sharply last year. Short Attention Span Theater has changed venues and is now housed on YouTube. Online video is killing the video star. Over at MTV Networks, the layoffs began in February.

The 30-second is dead! Long live the three-second!

The refugees — audience and marketers alike — flee to the internet. There they encounter the second, and more ominous, Chaos component: the internet’s awkward infancy. The online space isn’t remotely developed enough — nor will it be anytime soon — to absorb the advertising budgets of the top 100 marketers, to match the reach of traditional media or to fulfil the content desires of the audience.

How long it will be before order is restored is anybody’s guess. What is certain is that the Brave New World, when it emerges, will be far better for marketers than the old one. What is nearly as certain is that many existing ad agencies and some media agencies will be left behind. And the reason they will be left behind is their stubborn notion that they can somehow smoothly transition to a digital landscape.

Mass advertising flourished in the world of mass media. Not because it was part of God’s Natural Order but because the two were mutually sustaining. You’ve read the Ten Commandments; not one of them is “Thou shalt finance hour-long dramas” — nor is there a word in there about scale. So why assume that either must transition to the new model? Not only is it economically nonsensical, it squanders the very nature of the digital universe, the ability to speak with — not to, but with — the narrowest communities and individuals themselves.

[tags]Advertising, PR, Advertising Age, Web 2.0[/tags]

Categories Technology

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