Consumer Conference Call
There are more media choices for advertisers to buy and publishers to sell than ever in our history. A history that has commonly recognized only seven official mediums, which include: network television, cable television, magazines, newspapers, radio, online, and outdoor, the latter includes appropriately or not, "out of home" non-traditional marketing events.
Today, we have new mini mediums (iPods and satellite radio), consumer-generated content (podcasts and blogs) and new technology like digital video recorders (DVRs) that all invite consumers to consume content on their terms, and mostly without commercial interruptions.
This new age of consumer-controlled content experiences has our industry frightened and rightfully so. It appears as if everyone owns an iPod or covets one. Published blogs will exceed 50 million in another six months, and by 2007, there will be 50 million homes using a DVR or video on demand services. Satellite radio providers (XM and Sirius) are off to a slower start, combining for just 5.5 million subscribers to date.
However, the numbers are not nearly as frightening as the evangelic nature in which consumers speak of their beloved iPods, Tivos, and satellite radios. Do you recall anyone publicly praising the virtues of their VCR or five-disc changer?
The collective reaction of our industry to these new consumer-controlled content experiences has been to figure out ways to break into these content options that have no commercial breaks. We are creating commercial-oriented podcasts, ad networks of blogs, and more creative ways to embed ad messages into the programming itself to combat ad zapping DVRs.
For just one minute though, can we stop trying to hunt down consumers as they enjoy their new ad-free content options and listen to what they are telling us with the choices they are making? To help us understand, we have arranged a conference call with them. Go ahead consumers:
Consumers: "Umm, yes, hello. Is this on? Can everyone hear us?"
Yes, we can hear you, go ahead.
Consumers: "We are so fed up. You have been pounding our heads with messages everywhere we turn. We cannot visit the bathroom in our favorite pub without hearing from you. And do you really think we can't spot a product placement when we see one? Don't insult us by pretending to be part of the script.
We have options now that do not include you. We can listen to our iPods all day long. Not only is it the best "radio station" we have ever heard, but we do not have to hear a single word from you. We also have satellite radios that cater to our content needs and do not interrupt us with an obnoxious voice yelling about zero down and zero percent financing.
And here is news that might surprise you. We did not buy our DVRs to get rid of you; we just wanted to watch television programming on our schedule, not "theirs." Most of the time, we forget to zip pass the ads, but if you keep following us into our new commercial-free content corners, we will zap through every ad we see just to spite you (well, except the good ones).
Why are you following us anyway? Don't we pay enough attention to you? Why do you feel like you have to have our attention 24 hours a day? We are starting to have nightmares that you will figure out a way to sponsor our dreams.
Just because we leave you for a few hours with our new content toys does not mean we will leave you forever. We actually like you. Remember, "Where's the beef?" and those cute old men named Bartles & James? When we do tune into a radio, and we hear Bud Lite's "real men of genius" ads (jean shorts inventor), we turn it up not off. And the music in the TIAF Cref television ads ("there's a place for us") inexplicably bring a tear to our eyes and we have no clue what TIAF Cref can do for us. We laugh aloud when Geico shows us how to save money on our car insurance. See, do you feel better now?
Listen, we are not in your business, so far be it from us to tell you how to do your jobs, but here is an idea for you to consider. Instead of spending all of this time and energy coming up with new ways to trick yourselves into thinking you are tricking us, why don't you spend more time coming up with better ads. If all the ads were really good, would we be having this conversation?
So when we hang a 'do not disturb sign' on our new content doors, please respect it. We will not be in there all day. You will get a chance to speak to us. And if by chance you decide not to heed our wishes, may the wrath of our clickers bring an end to you all.
Thanks for listening. See you soon."