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".
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  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.

  • First-Year Creative Develops Hilarious Ad Agency Bingo Game Which Pokes Fun At Agency Life

    New York-based first-year MRY creative Sam Bartos has unveiled Ad Agency Bingo, a bingo game which incorporates many of the activities, behaviors and plain old oddities he's witnessed during his first year at MRY.

    Bingo squares include such activities as someone blatantly drinking before 2PM, somebody Tindering during a meeting, someone using the word "disruptive," somebody's dog pees in the office, someone says "advertorial," someone takes a selfie, someone you've slept with is in the same meeting as you and more. 

    In Sam's own words, here's how you sore the game:

    “If you get a straight line, you can take it to your boss and ask that he promote you. Art Directors can become Senior Art Directors. Junior Copywriters will become Senior Junior Copywriters. etc.

    If you get a diagonal line, you get to raid the office supply closet, Supermarket Sweep-style.

    If your coworker gets a straight line, but you contributed by saying one of the things that helps them fill out one of the squares, you can scan their filled out sheet and put it in your portfolio as a project you worked on.

    If you give the sheet to an intern to and they get a straight line, you can take credit for it as long as you write them a nice LinkedIn recommendation on their last day.

    If you fill in a couple of the bubbles then get bored, fuck it, it’s 11:27. Lunch time.”

  • Aw, How Cute. Saatchi & Saatchi LA Donates Creative to Pet Shelter

    Oh sure, it's not really news that agencies take on pro bono accounts from time to time but this item involves cats and dogs and other pets. And on the internet, cats and dogs always win.

    Saatchi & Saatchi LA has donated creative services to the Amanda Foundation, an LA-based local pet rescue organization founded by Hollywood actress Teri Austin. The agency, along with area production companies which donated upwards of one half million in production costs, has given the Amanda Foundation a new...ahem...leash on life. 

    The agency completely rebranded the foundation, highlighting their core missions – from redesigning their logo and website, to giving their Spaymobile a new look and overhauling social platforms.

    You can check out the new website here and Spaymobile here.
  • 99designs Community Develops Completely Underwhelming Logo For Deez Nuts

    Deez Nuts, the 15-year-old Iowa farm boy, Brady Olson, who thought it'd be hilarious to enter the 2016 presidential race, has, hilariously, become a noted contender. Which, of course, isn't surprising at all in a land where Donald Trump could actually become president.

    Online graphic design marketplace 99designs thought they'd give Brady some help -- and garner a bit of publicity for themselves -- by enlisting the 99designs community to come up with a logo for the "candidate." The community did just that, but the winning entry is a bit of a letdown.

    You can take a look at the winning logo here. After you've done that, take a look at some of the other designs here and I'll think you'll agree there are quite a few better than the one bestowed top spot.
  • 12 Agency Execs Profess Their Distaste For Spec Work

    Oh, those damn new business prospects. Always asking for spec work for pitches. Will they ever learn? It's like asking a doctor to operate on your toe so he can prove he'll be successful operating on your heart without even knowing the details of your health condition.

    The HubSpot blog, Agency Post, asked 12 ad agency execs to spout off about spec work and what they think about the clients who request it.

    Here's one of the better responses from Fuseideas' Dennis Franczak who said: "In written RFP responses, spec work is a waste of time. The reader may not have any context to what you are showing them. I also think when people ask it in an RFP they don’t understand how important developing creative is to us. It’s what we do. Asking us to just give it away means they already don’t respect you or what you do. To them, it’s like hiring somebody to provide them office supplies."

    He continued: "For in-person presentations, it’s your chance to show them how you think or how you arrived at your creative approach. 95% of whatever gets done in a spec creative pitch is tossed out because you don’t have the background or the relationship with the client to know what they really need, but it shows how you think and it shows them you want their business."

    What's your take on spec work?

  • Super Cheesy Video With Getty Stock Footage Promotes Mind-Numbingly Simple Ad Creation Tool

    It's a thing. No doubt you've seen many of them over the years. I'm talking about automatic ad creation widgets that promise to automagically create ads simply by entering a few bits of information. Well, here's another one.

    This one's called, simply, Ad Creator. And, shockingly, that's exactly what it does. One starts by entering the "tonality" of the brand in question. Then one just enters the brand name, the URL and a logo and shazam, you have an ad. 

    Oddly, it appears that it just creates print ads which for an online ad creation tool, is, well, super dumb. 

    The tool, which is demo'd (yes, it's a fake product lest you are silly enough to have thought otherwise) in a YouTube video is described thusly: "Ad Creator is a fully powered advertising generator that can bring your company's sales up to speed instantly. Just add your product, name your price and start your own creative revolution. The Ad Creator will instantly create top-of-the-line advertising while you take another sip at that coffee of yours."
  • Study Finds Social Media Claiming Larger Share of Ad Budgets

    According to a recent second-quarter agency survey conducted by STRATA, social media advertising is garnering a larger share of advertising budgets. The survey found that 20% of agencies report they are likely to allocate between 11-25% of their ad budgets to paid social media, a 24% increase from the previous quarter. Another 24% of agencies are allocating 6-10% to paid social. Facebook continues to lead in agency advertising with 93% planning to use it in their campaigns, followed by YouTube (57%), Twitter (52%), and LinkedIn (29%).

    The rise in social media ad spend and newer advertising mediums has created a more complicated media planning picture for agencies. Media mix surpassed client attraction and comes in overwhelmingly as the biggest challenge facing 40% of agencies, marking an 85% increase from the same time last year. Following media mix was client attraction (24% of agencies) and client spending (11%). Similarly, 22% of agencies expect their clients to make minor budget cuts from last year.

    Of the findings, STRATA President Joy Baer said: "There's an undeniable correlation between the rise in social media advertising with mobile device behavior. Agencies and advertisers are going to follow their audience. Mobile users are checking Facebook and Twitter throughout the day. So when you consider that around 60% of digital media time spent in the US is on smartphones and tablets, then it makes perfect sense to reach the audience in the apps that they're already accessing."
  • This Agency Couldn't Call Its New Chief Intelligence Guy A CIO Because That Title Is Taken

    Let's see. In the ever-growing list of overly self-important job titles, we've got Chief Development Officer (ie, sales director), Chief Creative Officer (ie, creative director), Chief Experience Officer (ie, director of UX), Chief Digital Officer (ie, director of digital), Chief Content Officer (ie, editorial director), Chief Client Officer (ie, account director), Chief Native Officer (ie, director of editorial spam), Chief Customer Officer (ie, director of customer service) and the list goes on.

    There's also Chief Intelligence Officer, otherwise known as the director of research. But we can't shorten that title to CIO because a CIO is, and always has been, a Chief Information Officer. Or the guy you call when your computer breaks.

    Smartly, IPG Mediabrands avoided this whole idiotic mess and called their new media research tech guy, Charles Godbold global director of media intelligence systems. All well and good -- but can we talk about Charles's last name for a minute? Isn't it the coolest? It just screams "I am the God of Awesome. I boldly go where no regular intelligence guy has gone before!"

    Godbold is actually founder of Media Pilot Pty, a media consultancy and analytics firm. He will oversee the rollout of his firm's analytics software across all Mediabrands offices.

    Title nonsense aside, IPG Mediabrands CEO Henry Tajer explained the hire, saying: “This is self-imposed discipline as opposed to client-appointed audits. Having the capability and the discipline in-house to redefine, remeasure and then reapply those insights is critical to how we’re going to be engaging with our client base moving forward. The ability for agencies to be responsive and operate in a real-time fashion with benchmarking is something the marketplace has largely been unable to do. Having it as part of our process and engineering it into how we operate means we’ll be doing it in real time. It’s accessible to the buying and client teams all the time as opposed to on a quarterly basis or a sporadic basis.”

     

  • Australian Ad Exec Who Likes To Get Drunk Says Agency People Under 30 Don't Drink Enough

    In super important news today, 45-year-old Nick Swifte, who works at Dentsu Mitchell, says younger agency people don't drink enough. Swifte tells the Sydney Morning Herald: "If the beer and chips come out at 4.30, by 5.30 all the kids under 30 are gone.” When we were starting out in our 20s if the office turned on booze you would literally sit around and drink until there was nothing left. Now the younger staff might have one beer or not drink at all. They just don't seem to have the same alcohol focus as the era when I grew up."

    Swifte, however, is a big fan of drinking himself, saying, "I like getting drunk. I'm a big fan of it. Working as a media buyer there is booze everywhere. Any function you go to, every achievement, every win, every loss, it's all celebrated with booze. There's as much of it as you want and it's all free."

    While this may make Swifte just sound like a drunk old Mad Man, there does seem to be a trend, -- at least in Australia -- of younger generations simply eschewing alcohol more than older generations. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's National Drug Strategy Household Survey, between 2004 and 2013, the number of 12- to-17-year-olds who do not drink rose from 54 percent to 72 percent while heavy drinking among 18- to-24-year-olds has dropped from 24 percent to 18 percent.

    And while there certainly may be a drop in the drinking levels of those under 30 working in ad agencies, maybe Swifte is witnessing a drop because young folks are sick of listening to old advertising war stories while drinking a beer in the agency kitchen. 

    Anyway, I thought you should know this very important piece of news.

  • Horizon Media Dubbed One Of The Best Place To Work In Los Angeles

    Media services agency Horizon Media has landed itself  a spot on the Los Angeles Business Journal's 2015 Best Places to Work. The list is a citywide survey and recognition program that identifies and recognizes LA's 100 best employers. Horizon is ranked number 12 in the large company category.

    Of making the list, Horizon Media Founder and CEO Bill Koenigsberg said, "I'm thrilled that Horizon is being named to yet another Best Places to Work list. This marks our fourth Best Places to Work designation in four years, and it's a testament to the special culture that we have created."

    Horizon Media Western Region GM and EVP Serena Duff added, "I couldn't be prouder that the agency has landed in the 12th spot on Los Angeles Business Journal's '2015 Best Places to Work in Los Angeles' list. We make it a priority to expose our talent to experiences that allow them to grow, learn, and thrive both professionally and personally. Horizon Media truly is a special place to work, and our amazing culture continues to attract the best and brightest minds in the industry."

    The prestigious honor is one of many work environment-related awards that the agency has recently received. Horizon was winner of the Employee Engagement Awards Best Program (Large Company) category, landed at #29 on Crain's New York Business 2014 Best Places to Work in New York City list and the Crain's Best Places, Best Practices Challenge Award, which recognizes the most innovative idea that promotes recruitment, retention or rewarding employees. The agency has also been named one of the best places to work by Advertising Age

    High fives, Horizon!
  • Here's Why Kraft Foods Is Looking For A New Media Agency (And Why Switching Won't Make A Difference)

    Whispers and reports of a Kraft Foods Group media review have been increasing in the part few days. Recently, the combined Kraft Heinz said it has plans in place to lay off 2,500 people. The $514 million account is currently handled by Starcom which in the past year or so has lost some business including Anheuser Busch InBev.

    So why are things so bleak for Kraft? One word; organic. Yes, the organic trend is killing large food brands which are still pumping out a plethora of unhealthy food like Cheez Whiz, Jell-O, Oscar Mayer, Velveeta, Kool-Aid and the list goes on.

    Granted, not every consumer has hopped on the organic bandwagon but increasingly people have come to the conclusion that the food they are eating today is not the same food they or their parents were eating 50 years ago. An endless list of hard-to-pronounce, mystery ingredients are now the norm on most packaging. Add to that the gluten-free trend and you have a recipe for disaster for old school food brands.

    And newsflash to those making this decision: choosing a new media agency will have no affect on the success of Kraft Foods no matter how much more awesome some new media agency is at beating the heads of potential consumers. Consumers want healthier foods. Screaming at them more efficiently about the benefits of Cheez Whiz simply is not going to make a difference for the brand. On the other hand, making food people actually want to eat, will, indeed, make a difference.

    All of which is to say, the ever-prevalent knee jerk reaction of switching agencies and media companies is rarely what turns a brand around. In most cases, it's because the brand just makes something better. Something that people actually want to buy. That's the only thing that's going to turn it around for Kraft Foods.
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