The Threads And Themes Of Advertising Week 2009
Every year on the eve of Advertising Week, I look onward with mixed feelings. We probably all do. I will come and go, attend the sessions of greatest interest, mixing in client and partner visits, an interview or two, new business meetings and other affairs of the week. There is nothing like being at the beating heart of it all, here in New York City. But advertising is just one facet of what we do. While we all know this on some level intellectually, it has never been more true. Adorned with widgets, downloadables, motion and deeply layered agendas, the event Web sites alone exude the complexities of the marketplace we aim to cover this week:
- The radically changing role of the consumer.
- Today's multi-screen reality.
- Our progress on convergence.
- The maturity and super-monetization of media we once called new: video, mobile and more.
So I am excited but restless as I look at the agenda. Thematically, there are several threads running through the week that will keep me engaged. On the vast landscape before me, these are the conversations and subject matter that feel most crucial, right now:
Breaking Down the Semantics of Legacy Media and Vehicle Bashing
As we progress more steadily toward a converged world, I find the references to "legacy media" more and more awkward. We have to move this along. While the realities of what has gone on, for example, with print media are undeniable, the discussion of what might "perish if it does not reinvent" is starting to feel nearly beside the point. Many of us have come to the clarified point of view that it is journalism and reporting that must be preserved.
To a certain extent, we need to get over our obsession with vehicles -- and what's killing what -- if we are really going to do this thing. Media progressives agree we need an array of vehicles to prosper and, in fact, play together, as we get to where we are going.
On this note, I heard over the weekend unequivocally that the "Web is dead!" This declaration was made to me with a knowing look during a discussion of real-time search and the way new social platforms and microblogging are usurping the legacy search engines. I am wondering how you all feel about this morbid proclamation, my friends. While I agree that the URL cannot singularly represent a brand anymore, I don't know that this claim is the same thing. Seems to me that the digitalization of platforms has become enough of a reality that we acknowledge the limited role of the URL but respect the role the Internet itself plays in the bigger picture.
How Near Are We to a Thriving Multi-Screen World?
Much of the activity we are seeing in the marketplace -- such as deals between Blip.tv and various content partners, notably their arrangement with YouTube; YouTube's trial with FreeWheel -- indicate serious strides toward consumer-led global content distribution. The freeing up of choke-points, combined with increased dexterity between screens, open up the scope of opportunity for advertisers, marketers, and content producers. And the avid media consumer in his or her connected world is sitting pretty. But the industriousness and imagination required to capitalize on this new world order are not insignificant. We are at the threshold.
What Do We Have to Understand About the Consumer in Today's Marketplace?
As we acknowledge the shifted place of Madison Avenue, the evolution of integrated marketing and certainly the changing role of the consumer -- it's obvious that new levels of understanding are required. As we moved into a world that integrated advertising into a layered marketing framework, there has long been more to consider. Integration became a presumed approach, whether it was well-executed or not.
Even in the past few years, the bar has been raised on integrated marketing itself, with respect to what we have to understand about consumers in order to market to them at all. The art and science of attracting, acquiring, retaining became more and more about understanding and optimizing consumer demand and influence.
Now, under what many are calling the "new socialism," integrated marketing has become even more than that. We are looking at consumers in a much more involved way than was previously required. Now, it's essential to understand the various behaviors and personality types within the new turbo socialization of brands. It seems that we're going to need to understand why and how consumers align, assume identities, congregate tribes, collect, converse, and on and on. There's much thinking to be done here. Personally, I'm pretty intrigued by some of the stuff I hear out of people whose brains I trust, and I wonder what will come of the methodologies now available to profile and target behaviors of socialization.
The issues we have to cover, within our businesses and on behalf of our clients. as we walk on, are complex. So, I wish you an Advertising Week of great conversations, provocations and a few of those ah-ha moments to make your day.