All Or Nothing
The reality however is very different. Instead of allying the various media properties into a consistent and synergistic chain, we are – for the most part - witness to a disproportionate allocation of media dollars across the respective channels, conveyed by a disconnected message.
There are many reasons for this. I’d like to touch on a few thoughts surrounding the difficult, yet critical challenge of bringing in the New Media value proposition from the cold.
I’m sure most of you read this week that Doritos decided to abandon its Super Bowl spot in favor of tripling its Interactive budget. If you don’t think this is the biggest news you’ve heard in a long time, then you had better. This is so significant and should be included in any and all decks relating to demonstrating the power of an idea whose time has come. The Super Bowl is the apex of the broadcast arena and to see money flowing from this media Coliseum to the Web is tantamount to Robin Hood teaming up with David to kick Goliath where it really hurts.
Perhaps I’m a little too excited about this, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire and I fully expect more brands to follow suit and join the likes of Volvo, Toyota, Wendy’s, Burger King, Sprint and American Express in terms of implanting and executing full scale integrated efforts.
This bold move is a sound reflection of staying close to the consumer and true to the brand by allowing the more relevant medium to prevail over a more staid and lethargic ego-based status quo.
On another front, I’ve been noticing lately that a trend has developed whereby New Media executives are returning to their traditional roots and rejoining radio, broadcast and print. Is this a bad thing? Are these individuals deserting the dream and taking the easy way out? People have got to make a living in these difficult times, so perhaps we should cut them some slack.
Arguably one of our biggest mistakes has been to try and “take on” the more established and credible media. By attempting to expose the inadequacies, weaknesses and chinks in the traditional armor, we do ourselves a disservice by making it an all or nothing fight to the death.
This isn’t always our fault. We have been forced to work harder in order to get a seat at the table. But often times, the by-product of this attempt to make our case is overselling ourselves or overcomplicating the elevator pitch.
So perhaps we should applaud and encourage these people as they take their interactive learnings and – hopefully - apply them in an integrated fashion and manner.
After all, interactive people can’t help but be integrated thinkers. Fully understanding the cause-effect nature of our business (oversimplified by a click) places us in a unique situation whereby we can help re-attach ourselves to the rest of the flowchart, instead of remaining a lone crusader.
A scenario in which we triple our budgets might be as simple as canceling this year’s Super Bowl spot, but this is always going to be the exception, rather than the norm. A more likely case might be the result of carefully looking to transfer the most inefficient line items on a typical buy, or alternatively creating a communications thread which sequences seamlessly from one medium to another (in layman’s terms: a drive-to-web strategy.)
Helping us achieve this mission is going to be “gray haired revolutionaries” (as coined by Gary Hamel) joining the New Media industry. I’m glad to say there a good number of these Gandalfs around. Seek them out and make them your mentors. In addition, we now have a growing number of compatriots rejoining the old school. Stay close to them and they will reward you with ideas that have legs and latitude.
Finally, there are the “traditionalists” both on the agency and client side. Do not distance yourself from them. Instead, help them to understand; make them look good; create a win-win situation, instead of an all or nothing combatant approach, and slowly yet surely, you will see results that speak for themselves.
- Joseph Jaffe is Director of Interactive Media at TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York, where he works with clients including Kmart, ABSOLUT Vodka, Samsonite, Embassy Suites and Cunard. His primary focus is to highlight interactive's value and benefit in meeting his clients' integrated business and branding objectives.