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Rich Benson

Would be very interested to hear your view on this - http://www.e-consultancy.com/news-blog/365033/forrester-blow-your-money-on-social-marketing.html - which essentially ridicules bigger brands' attempts to build "conversational content, niche communities" - mentioned in your post above.

James Cherkoff

Mmmmm, sounds like box thinking to me. The author is comparing apples and pears. He says: "Is it not better to spend $2 million on a campaign that delivers results than to spend $200,000 on a campaign that doesn’t?" Errr, yup.

As I say to all my clients you either believe the status quo will continue as the author appears to. In which case it's business as usual. Or you don't. In which case innovation is a good idea. The choice is entirely yours.

Paul | ConversionBlogger.com

The thing about those "boxes" is they subconsciously alert the mind to the fact that something is being "offered".

I prefer "stealth", which are somewhat out of the box and blend in almost seamlessly with a site, as per my blog post here:

Yes, the boxes are fading, but companies like Google still insist on having a "Ads by Google" label next to their links - still a "box" of sorts.

Paul Hancox

James Cherkoff

Thanks Paul, I agree with the sentiment of your post although I'm not too keen on the 'stealth' tag. I think the more organic and natural marketing can be the better. This is often just done by being helpful.

Ted Shelton

In a broadcast world, access to talent (entertainment) is limited by the medium -- only so many broadcast hours in a day. Attention is cheap -- not a lot to watch. So roadblock advertising is accepted. But in the online world, there is an enormous quantity of talent. Selection of what to watch becomes difficult -- attention becomes scarce. Roadblock advertising gets in the way of making choices. Given two roads -- one with a roadblock and one without, the traffic will flow away from the roadblock. Thus that advertising will be less effective. You'll still have roadblock advertising on content that is highly desired and where access is artificially (exclusives) or naturally (interaction) limited.

As an industry we need to re-examine the purpose and usefulness of advertising. Your associate is far from alone in having this kind of negative reaction toward companies that "waste" their time with unwanted advertisements.

But here is an interesting question to ask him/her -- do you have the same negative reaction to an advertisement on the side of a bus?

Here is a model worth considering:

Behavior type 1: Directed (search) = ads relevant to my search
I am looking for a certain type of information and advertising that is related to this information will be itself information and thus valuable to me. Example: an advertisement for a particular brand of car when I am researching that car.

Behavior type 2: Browsing = ads relevant to my interests
I am wandering, not looking for anything specific (although I may be in a category like sports) but I am engaged and interested in exploring -- advertising that offers me news, entertainment, or anything else that is very relevant to my personal interests will be valuable. Example: an advertisement for a website with sports highlights if I am browsing other sports sites.

Behavior type 3: Consumption = no ads
I am watching a show, listening to a podcast, etc. I am focused on the media I am consuming and I am, at best, going to ignore the ad and, at worst, going to be annoyed by the ad.

James Cherkoff

Thanks Ted. The problem is that advertising has a long history of being irritating, wasting time or just being plain irrelevant. "Who eats chocolate like that!," I heard my other half exclaim the other day during the ad break of her favourite TV show.

As you indicate, by taking advantage of new intelligent formats maybe that can change. But that will only be half the battle. IMHO the nature of creative work will also need to evolve to become more organic and focused on real people's needs.

The question is if the formats are different and the creative is different - is that still 'Advertising'. And is it something that the traditional agencies can ever hope to pull off?


It occurs to me, as both marketer and hater of ads and all of consumer culture - I surprise myself sometimes - that advertising is not simply dead in the sense of radically altered - but is quite literally dead. It just doesn't know it yet.

Advertising is the product of a broadcast world. The world is a lot less broadcasty now, and even the broadcast bits like TV don't work very well in the age of DVRs.

What do I want if I hate ads so much? I want marketing of relevant products at a relevant time presented in a natural fashion, ie. like from a friend. Someone I trust.

I think the goal of marketing is to become almost invisible, and the goal of advertising is to be terminated with extreme prejudice. (That's a euphemism for string of obscenities that amount to "Die! Die! Die!")

James Cherkoff

Thanks Brad, brilliantly brutal as ever!

Internet Advertising

Like you say, not all the people see the things the same way, but one thing is true, advertising is for persuading people, and it works one way or another. Of course there are good and bad ways to do it.

James Cherkoff

Thanks IA, care to offer a little more?

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