Ad Industry Can't Decide Whether or Not TV is Dead

Almost ten years ago, Joe Jaffe wrote a book entitled: "Life After the 30-Second Spot." As the title suggests, it was all about the demise of traditional media, specifically the :30 TV ad. In 2012, Brian Wieser, writing in TVNewsCheck, called reports of TV's death "greatly exaggerated" arguing against Henry Blodget who had just penned a Business Insider article about how the TV business is collapsing.  And at this week's ADMA Creative Fuel Conference, R\GA Founder Bob Greenberg is predicting the death of the metaphorical 30-second ad. So which is it? TV is dead? TV is here to stay? Can we make up our minds? If continuously rising Super Bowl prices are any indicator, TV as an ad medium is doing just fine. If you compare today's average prime time rating with those of just ten years ago, you begin to see a more dire picture. But it's not really all that dire. Yes, the effectiveness of TV advertising is declining but, at the same time, consumption of TV-like content is on a continuous upswing. It would seem to me the only thing that's changing is the words we use to describe what ad agencies do: place compelling content in front of the people most likely to be swayed by it. If we look at it that way, nothing's dying. It's just changing.

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Well we've heard it all before. Digital! Digital! Digital! All in with digital! So what's the new head of digital at Ogilvy New York, Lou Aversano, going to do to make his mark? He's not just going all in with digital. He's going to "aggressively invest in digital." Aggressively, I say! Anyway, what's more interesting is how Aversano got his start in the business. He tells AdWeek. "I was a Boston University finance major, and in my junior year I had to make up a class, so I took AdLab (a student-run ad agency) for the hell of it. The professor happened to be Walter Lubars, father of BBDO chief creative officer David Lubars. It’s a great program and I took it again senior year for no credit. I graduated and got a job at Bear Stearns. My first week there I thought, 'I’m 21 years old and I don’t want to live the rest of my life thinking woulda, coulda, shoulda.' So I quit my job without telling my father and interviewed at Chiat/Day New York. I didn’t get hired but got a job at N.W. Ayer as a secretary."

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The American Marketing Association has a new CEO; Russ Klein. Klein comes to the AMA from Arby's where he was chief marketing officer. Prior to that, he served as CMO for Burger King, 7-Eleven, and Dr Pepper/7Up companies. Of his focus upon taking on the new role, Klein said, “Disruption is the new normal in marketing. The AMA has long been a trusted source of insights for the marketing world and I consider it a real privilege to guide the organization into the frontiers that lie ahead. The AMA will continue to be a torchbearer in lighting up the pathways of change not only in the future state of marketing but commerce in general.”

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It's really no joke. One day, all media buying will be a done via programatic buying with nary a bit of involvement from human beings. And unlike the stock market -- also very automated -- which makes trades that actually matter as opposed to programmatic buys where if a mistake is made an ad simply doesn't appear, constant human supervision becomes irrelevant. Because in advertising, we just have the make good. In the stock market, consequences are a bit more dire. All of which is to say, it's no surprise agency after agency, much like Havas SA which just struck a programmatic deal with AOL, are automating as much as they can automate. Because, really, buying media is boring. And agencies hate boring. Winning a Cannes Lion on the other hand. Now that's where the excitement's at!
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4 comments about "Ad Industry Can't Decide Whether or Not TV is Dead".
  1. Leonard Zachary from EquityStep , July 29, 2014 at 9:38 a.m.
    Richard, TV is certainly not dead with all the digital OTT streaming on that smart TV screen. The TV dying you refer is the bundled TV and retransmission/cable carriage rights business model- that will not hold with the 20-30 year olds. Good luck selling bundled TV in the not too distant future to the upcoming generation now 5 to 15 years old. The folks who rely on centralized government laws to protect their business model in a free market and very competitive digital world that is converging onto to the TV screen, are living on borrowed time.
  2. Robert Barrows from R.M. Barrows, Inc. Advertising & Public Relations , July 29, 2014 at 11:25 a.m.
    If TV continues being mostly reality TV, no one will care.
  3. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , July 29, 2014 at 4:48 p.m.
    What's funny is that the statistics clearly show TV isn't dying nor is there any significant erosion. What IS happening is the ad people who desperately wish TV would die have become transcendent. Why do they want it dead? I think it's a combination of self-loathing (too many advertising people hate the idea that profitable client effectiveness is important) and a desperate search for their own unique story about why they're so cool. (And if digital media offer anything it's an infinite ability to take the same old thing and claim to clients you're doing something really break through and new. Sadly, there are a few too many clients who buy these pitches.)
  4. John Grono from GAP Research , July 29, 2014 at 5:15 p.m.
    The seers of the 'Death of TV' will be long gone before television is.
  • Mad Men Opening Credit Bench Turned Into Actual Bench

    From now until the end of summer, those passing by the Time-Life building, home to the "Mad Men" fictional SC&P agency, will have the chance to sit on a bench crafted to look just like the bench in the opening credits of "Mad Men."

    The 12-foot bench was designed by Pentagram and consists of just two pieces -- a half-inch thick rolled steel plate seat and a 10-foot cast-concrete base. 

    So if you've got a hankering to sidle up to Don Draper (or whomever that silhouette turns out to be) then now's your chance.

  • That Agency That Just Launched A New Web Site Has Now Done Something Newsworthy

    The Brandon Agency -- which, ahem, just launched a new Web site, has just done something a bit more newsworthy. On Friday, March 20, the agency closed its Charleston office so that employees could take the day to volunteer for Operation Home, a non-profit that helps people remain in their homes by increasing home safety and accessibility.

    The agency’s staff spent the day in Hollywood, S.C., with Operation Home building a wheelchair ramp to enable an area resident to get in and out of their home safely. The result was a 29-foot wheelchair ramp to provide easy access for the homeowner.

    Of the effort, The Brandon Agency VP Media Director Shelby Greene said: “As a business organization, The Brandon Agency believes that we have a responsibility to serve others and give back in our surrounding communities. It’s wonderful to be a part of an agency that sees the importance of serving those in need and encourages us to take the time to do just that as a team. We believe Operation Home serves a valuable purpose and we are thrilled to jump on board with them.”

    Yes, that's much, much better that touting the launch of a new Web site.
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    In the continuing shift away from the actual duties of, you know, creating advertising, 72andSunny has created a new spicy burger for Carl's Jr. The agency came up with the burger concept, named it and designed the packaging -- but they also developed the burger's ingredients. 

    Of the involvement, 72andSunny CCO Glenn Cole said: “We don’t look at our job as being an ad agency or marketing agency. We see our job as being an accelerator of business.”

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    Advice ranges from not relying on your femininity to get ahead to demanding appropriate work space to taking power when it comes your way to maintaining a professional relationship even when there is a lot of personal baggage to never fall in love with your married boss.

    Peggy's been through a lot. She's grown professionally and personally. And she's become wise with advice to share. We'll see her a few more times as Mad Men makes its final run this Spring.

  • Yannick Bollore Is Perfectly Happy Havas Isn't Huge

    In the advertising holding company world, which is run exclusively by men, and in the regular world which, some would argue, is still run by men, there is and always has been a fixation with size. And size in the sense that bigger is always better. That line of thinking runs rampant from the boardroom to the bedroom. 

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    And on his competitor's fixation with swelling to ever larger girth, Bollore adds, "It'll just make us slower. I do not want to be the biggest. This obsession is nonsense, and for what?" 

    What's that saying? "It's not the size that matter. It's how you use it."

    So take that Sorrell and Levy. Bigger is not always better. Especially when you're trying to hook up with...um...a smaller brand.
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    In a statement made by Hamm's publicist, Annett Wolf, Hamm has strong support from his girlfriend, actress Jennifer Westfeldt. Hamm checked into Silver Hill at the end of February.

    Hamm will make his final appearances as Don Draper as the remaining episodes of the last season of Mad Men kick off April 5.
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    If there were anything an ad agency could do to further remove itself from trusted business partner and thrust itself ever deeper into insignificant vendor hell, it would be to actually put out a press release touting the fact that it's offering "a limited time promotion on all media packages."

    The release adds: "SEO SEM, infographics, animations, responsive websites, copywriting and PPC management are also included in this sales event."

    And in a supremely dumbed-down explanation of marketing that treats its audience like uninformed children, the release continues: "Advertising can be incredibly complex. Fortunately agency’s consultants can help streamline and simplify marketing efforts. A single campaign has many components, all of which must work together successfully for the plan to succeed."

    So if you need to be schooled on advertising or need "up to a 10% discount" on your next campaign, give a shout out to Eye to Ad Media  (http://www.eyetoad.com/) whose URL, oddly, spells "eye toad" -- bringing up an entirely different image than that of a professional ad agency.
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    In another observation of the obvious, Armstrong thinks agencies do a poor job marketing themselves, saying: "From a talent perspective, from a client perspective, from a media perspective, the ongoing discussion about ad agencies and what comes up in those marketplaces in general...very little of it talks about the value proposition. There's a lot of value getting driven here that will get you better talent, get you better clients."

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    Good news for agencies, perhaps.
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    Guetta, as you may know, is a musician and marketer who has done his share of celebrity endorsements. From partnerships with brands like MUMM, Renault and most recently, TAG Heuer, to co-designing a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre, and co-founding a specialized agency for celebrity marketing, My Love Affair, Guetta also just released a new album titled "Listen" with international artists including Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Sia, and others.

    Together with Levy, the two will discuss how celebrity endorsements have evolved from a simple play for buzz to a transformational creative role in marketing, advertising, and branding. Guetta will also give the audience an inside look at just how pivotal social media is in building relationships between artists and their audiences.

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