Advertising in the 21st Century

I was listening – well sort off, I tuned it out mostly – to more gnashing of teeth and wailing from the media industry about how we viewers were avoiding their ads. The latest “ruse” they have employed is to get actors to speak about products as part of the script….

Jay Rosen talks in ‘People Formerly Known as the Audience‘ about the shift in power and that once control is ceded to ‘the masses’ it cannot be regained. I guess the power of the many, enabled by communication, over the few.

This, and a few other teasers, got me thinking – a rare and dangerous thing – about advertising. The regular stuff, the ads that we see on TV all the time. Turns out, I’m not as unique as I was hoping – many of us watch ads that are appealing, and will even seek them out. This was reinforced by a friend (a senior at USC) who has just passed his driving test. After getting over his shock that I not only knew about YouTube, but could show him fun stuff there, he showed me the new VW ads. ‘Unpimp Your Auto‘ is a series of three (search for tags pimp, auto and VW) ads that his generation are seeking out. Yup, that is that they go online and watch them, show them to friends, talk about them. Now THAT’s an advert.

Ditto for the Apple Mac ads are interesting in and of themselves. But the spoofs (for all of them search for tag truenuff) ALSO build credibility for the Mac too. Apple could pay for such ads, but this way they garner huge credibility on the back of someone else’s dollar. That’s RoI!

Now to some of the challenges. Talk a look at Cubicle Wars. Do it now, then read on.

What was the product? I had to go back and look twice. Compelling, funny and a great piece of work – but I can’t remember the product even now. All I can recall is that it’s a report writer. So compelling ads are not enough – there needs to be some good hook.

Also, in the Mac spoof noted above, the company Truenuff included a link along with all the spoof ads. Only problem is, that the link generates an error 404. Whoops. Even a link to the main domain didn’t work. Today, there is a redirect to a blog on Myspace.

So what’s my point? That good, innovative, compelling ads can be produced and we, the customer, will actively seek them out. Smart marketers will will stop trying to force advertising upon us and learn to have us seek it!

Oh, and execution (especially around the whole user (customer) experience) is still all!

Great customer experiences to us all.

Tags: Advertising, Media, WOM

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