the grass is greener on the internet


Doom and gloom
October 13, 2008, 9:15 am
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When someone says that the shit has hit the fan…what kind of fan do you imagine?

Okay, hold that thought.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a ridiculously large pile of money for the last month or so, you don’t need me to tell you that the shit HAS hit the fan for the global economy.

Online marketers have taken the opportunity to tout this as the ‘death of advertising’ – traditional advertising that is. It’s not difficult logic. Online campaigns are generally cheaper to implement, which is good when you’re struggling for cash.

But let’s take it back a step.

Contraction of the economy means lower consumer demand for the same number of players. Competition goes up. And suddenly, it’s survival of the fittest – or in marketing terms, survival of the differentiators.

I think we’ll see an increase in online advertising, but it could be limited::

  • a lot of target groups aren’t online anyway;
  • it takes time to build a presence on the web to ensure that you aren’t just ambient noise, and the gap will need to be filled elsewhere; as well as
  • if everyone shifts to online, the differentiators will be using traditional media (albeit in new ways).

As an emerging marketer I’m more concerned about the job loss – companies are starting to shed even their accountants, so it’s not a good time for jobhunting.

It’s a better time to be an independent contractor but with little experience it’s hard to gain credibility.

I’m hoping that companies realise; now is the time to make investments. In brand equity. In people. When everyone else is panicking and overlooking the opportunities that do come up in a crisis, it’s your time to step up (if you have the resources).

And back to that question…

Most people say ceiling fan. Another large number say desk fan. Nobody says a hand-held fan, a standing fan, an exhaust fan, or a music fan.

You know, it might all have gone to shit, but you can still be creative.

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The Death of Advertising
August 14, 2008, 2:57 am
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Sound the alarm bells and clutch your Cannes Lions close! Prepare to see the advertising world as you know it disappear!

…or so they’ve been saying. Years later, the advertising world is still waiting for the apocalypse and it’s just not coming.

There’s plenty of arguments as to why advertising as we know it is dead, or dying. The usual suspect to be cited is that the average consumer (American, I assume) sees about 300 advertising messages a day. Filtering out the facts from the junk is becoming too hard, and (being lazy) consumers just stop listening altogether. Same same, but different? Nope, just the same.

With everyone now using advertising as a standard method of promotions, standing out from the crowd has become a matter of using different methods of communication. As the (not to be named) creative director of a major ad agency said (about a week before leaving for a PR consultancy), you can be as creative as you like but people will just ignore you.

I don’t think it will die and if it does it will be back soon enough…here’s why.

As accustomed to advertising as we may be, it’s not wholly a bad thing. Advertising is something that pretty much everyone understands. It’s a tried and true way of getting a message across, and from the client side that counts for a lot. And the more that advertisers move their communications into other methods, the less clutter there will be and the more incentive to go back to previous methods to differentiate. Direct marketing, once the establishment, is now a more novel way to communicate and can be a deadly marketing weapon.

PR even now is starting to lose its credibility, which was its drawcard in the first place. In fact, every commercial communication method which starts to gain any traction is going to suffer the same issue as more and more communicators use it. At least advertising, on the most part, isn’t pretending to be something it isn’t.

So advertising as the one-and-all solution may be dying out (and I’m sorry to anybody who just got on the bandwagon after watching the Gruen Transfer) but it certainly isn’t dead. Mostly we need to realise that you need to take a strategic perspective on communications and that if advertising is going to be a major tool for you, it’s going to be tough.

[On a side note, the inspiration from this came from catching part of a conversation on a pedestrian crossing, where two people were discussing an advertising course that I took while on exchange in Singapore. Maybe viral really is the way of the future.]