Advertisers: Head, meet sand, insert

Advertising Age has an amazingly story — amazingly bad — trying to assure advertisers that they don’t need to worry their not-so-little heads about all this digital stuff they hear. The moral to the story: Most people don’t read blogs or hear podcasts, so don’t bother. You’d expect me to get huffy about this and I will. First, I wonder whether Ad Age delivered similar bromides at this stage in the growth of cable and the VCR. Second, this only continues the myth that only mass matters. It doesn’t matter that most people don’t read blogs or hear podcasts. It never will. In a post-mass marketplace, you will have to look for audiences wherever they are. Yes, you should look on network TV … only you won’t find as many there as you used to. But to ignore not just these new media but also their potential is just stupid. Ad Age, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  • steve

    now, now. i read the ad age piece and its not an attack on anything. its an attempt to apply similar metrics to new media forms as are routinely applied to traditional media. and if thats a bad thing, then we are truly in a horribly scary bubble. in the late 1990s everybody scoffed at applying traditional metrics to new media… until advertisers realized how massively they were being ripped off (e.g. CPMs for banner ads) and set back new media businesses for years. now we’re coming back big-time, lets not repeat the mistakes of the past.

    after all jeff, if your theses about new media are valid, you should not need to scorn those who attempt to quantify and understand the new forms and the changes taking place. in fact, if you genuinely believe your prognostications are valid (and I assume you do) then you should be happy to ignore naysayers, and simply sit back Buddha-like and watch the exciting drama unfold, as you have predicted

  • I remember when they told us not to worry about TV because nothing sells like a color double-truck ad in Life magazine.

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  • It seems like a fairly reasonable article and set of viewpoints based on some consumer data. For those of us knee-deep in the bubbly Web 2.0 (shudder) waters, sure it seems like it is somewhat dismissive of the massive changes we see and feel brewing, but I’d be more surprised if I found out that a lot of middle America was blogging. Yes, amazing developments are afoot but blogging, social media and many of these other wonderful new things are still sans sustainable business model (advertising or otherwise). And of course, we both know that consumers in surveys (I created many of those types of surveys myself in my analyst days) don’t always know exactly what they’re doing, have done or will do either… it’s up to the innovators to lead them there.

  • Jeff – AdAge does a pretty good job at trotting out research and evidence for their points, but you don’t offer anything like their numbers to back up your assertion. I’m a proponent of new media but, AdAge does make some solid points. The world of new media is still not up to the point where advertisers have to be openly concerned about it yet…it’s too small and diversifed for big investment. And I, for one, hope it takes a heck of a long time before new media is openly commercialized. Our lives are already filled with enough advertising, isn’t it a good thing that new media is still relatively uncomprised by its advertisers?

  • Jeff

    It seems to me you’re overreacting here a bit. But maybe not by much. The article is mostly legit in my book, er, um, e-book in that it talks of the lack of knowledge of what RSS is or that people may still read a paper or turn on the evening news.. But, it could have been written better:

    “According to a separate study by WorkPlace Print Media, 88% of the at-work audience doesn’t even know what RSS is. And recent data from word-of-mouth research group Keller Fay indicate 92% of brand conversations were taking place offline — far more than the commonly assumed rate of 80%. ‘We understand that while they’re powerful new tools, the bulk of human interaction is still high-touch rather than high-tech,’ said Brad Fay, chief operating officer at Keller Fay.”

    Sure, human to human contact will always rule word of mouth, but…

    “…In Keller Fay’s studies, for example, while 92% of brand conversations took place offline, nearly half involved some reference to media or marketing that people had seen or heard and were talking about. And the internet nearly tied TV as a reference source.”

    Duh. So last night’s surfing helped influenced todays chat around the water cooler.

    There’s one story that a lot of people missed though. The ruling by federal judge Gladys Kessler against tobacco companies. They’re banned from using terms like “Light” in advertising. But here’s the kicker…as a penalty, cigarette companies have to take out ads in 16 major daily newspapers and on prime TV, talking of the dangers of smoking. I blogged about it here:

    Must of the target market for cancer sticks are young people. The type of people who don’t reallly read newspapers or watch much TV. They’re on MySpace, YouTube, etc. But of course, she had no clue. We need to sic Jeff Jarvis on her.

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