Back to the Future!
We started writing articles on marketing / advertising communication around 2006, so we felt that we should conduct a review of the changes that are taking place since the advent of new technology and the growth of the Internet as an advertising medium.
So what changes have taken place in commercial communication?
Simply put … nothing. Advertising Agencies are still dancing on the head of a pin called a 30 'TV commercial. The really terrifying aspect of all this is advertising agencies have come up with no new ideas as to how to combat clutter; Or even customer mistrust and outright avoidance of traditional advertising.
As someone said to us the other day the attitude within advertising agencies still is "The answer is a TV commercial, – what's your question?"
And if they can then load the TV production cost by hiring an outlandishly expensive Hollywood movie director, so much the better. It satisfies all the egos involved, but, and here is the real weird thing, the consumer could not care less about those directs the commercial, all they wanted was the right information that would allow them to like and need the product.
Junk Mail is alive and growing.
Who ever said "The more things change the more they remain the same" was spot on when applying that maximum to the advertising world!
Clutter. That dreadful word that came into vogue in the late 1960s and was applied to the proliferation of advertising messages the consumer could be exposed to during the course of his or her working day. More accurately the term was "commercial clutter", however we much prefer "meaningless noise"
Well the growth of digital TV and Radio, together with the proliferation of TV channels it means that "clutter" has become a downright deluge of information … of all sorts, and still the Advertising World has no answer to the problem, and, Frankly, they do not want it to end. To the advertising agencies "commercial clutter" means larger profits, so stuff the client and lets get more messages out there!
We live in an over informed society and people everywhere are turning away from the commercial information spewed out from all media, it is of no interest or relevance to them at all!
Remember when the Internet and online marketing were going to spell the end of the direct mail business? Well, it has not exactly worked out that way.
Over the last year (2007), United States marketers sent more than 114 billion pieces of direct mail – catalogs, credit cards solicitations, coupons and the like – an increase of roughly 15% from five years ago, according to the United States Postal Service . And in the last year, for the first time, the volume of bulk mail, which is all direct mail, exceeded first class.
As the world becomes more digital, there is need for tangible experiences. And there's nothing like a piece of paper.
From the consumers point of view there is some relief from this deluge of information, e-mail from marketers who can be blocked by spam filters, and reaching customers vie e-mail often requires them to agree to be on a company's solicitation list. Direct mail, on the other hand, lands in mailboxes without an invitation, but does not seem to be considered as annoying by consumers, in part because it often is related to their past purchases.
Ad agencies are starting to change as well in response to the growth in direct mail.
Most companies did not even include spending on direct mail or promotions as an advertising expense, instead lumping them into general sales expenses and calling such spending "below the line."
It was anything that was not considered important enough for the board of directors or CEO to know about, because all they were ever talking about before at cocktail parties was television commercials.
Ad executives expect the boom in direct mail to continue.
However among consumers a major change was underway best summed up by "We are immune to advertising. Just forget it."
That was said a few years ago as part of the Cluetrain Manifesto, true then, even truer to day!
Companies need to come down from their Ivory Towers and talk to the people with what they hope to create relationships.
Public Relations does not refer to the public. Companies are deeply afraid of their markets.
Up until a few years ago advertising was the province of a privileged few to the passive many. Now the ownership of moving images has passed into the hands of practically everyone and the articulation of moving images has passed into the hands of everyone with access to a phone, laptop or digital camera. We can now have our say. "
In essence, the behavior of the audience is moving from passive to active participation so that TV watching or listening to radio in the future will be a very different and less sedentary experience than it has been in the past 80 years.
Ultimate power is not with brand owners or even with broadcasters, and most certainly does not exist with the Advertising Agencies at all! It's with the viewer. And it's the on / off switch.
Given that the traditional interruption model of TV advertising is no longer as effective as it was a decade ago, and coupled with the rise of personal video recorders (PVR) that privilege viewers to record programs free of advertising. Broadcast sponsorship is potentially more attractive for brand owners than traditional advertising.
As a result, brand owners and their agencies have started to explore other hybrid-broadcast sponsorship models, such as product placement, advertiser-funded programming (AFP), as well as controlling their own TV and radio channels.
However, be careful what you believe on the Internet: there's a growing chance that you're being hoaxed by a cynical PR firm, here comes yet another trend that is far more pernicious. The abuse of the Internet by PR agencies and their Clients!