MEDIA FOR THE ONLINE WORLD - Flying Cars and Other Great Media Vehicles

by , Jul 1, 2000, 12:00 AM
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We all know the Internet universe is rapidly expanding, but did you know that the Internet adds about four new worldwide users every second. Speed in growth is nothing compared to the “time compression” in terms of the traditional business cycle. For most of the past century, the traditional business cycle was 18 years. With the onset of the computer industry, this was reduced to 18 months. The Internet has further squeezed this cycle to 18 weeks. In the not so distant future we may have 18-hour business cycles.

How does this affect media planners? Well first off, clients are going to demand even quicker turnaround for research, negotiating, planning and implementation. Second, clients are going to expect campaign results faster and faster. TV or radio commercials that in the past might have needed weeks or months of airing to build awareness may be held up to the same “standards” of banner ads that get pulled in a day when the click-through is low. The whole concept of advertising may change when companies come out of nowhere one day, spend $50 million in media the next day and are out of business following day. It may seem like an exaggeration to some, but not to the agency folk that worked on Drkoop.com, Boo.com, and some of the other recently defunct advertisers.

Traditional media approaches that take time to build may not work in this new wired (or in many cases unwired) world. Media planners will need to find new means to quickly create brand awareness, move product and increase ROI. Two effective ways to do this are extreme offline branding and wireless advertising.

Extreme Offline Branding

Because of the increasing clutter and expense of both traditional and online advertising, marketers are constantly searching for unique and inventive ways to promote themselves. Two companies have found inventive ways to break through. First, Ask Jeeves, a natural language search engine, created a float for the MACY’s Day Parade, a first for a dot.com. This generated over 100 million impressions; a great ROI for the $1 million cost for the float. Second, XmarksTheSpot.com, a cost-per-action site, used a “costumed superhero” and custom detailed car to gain awareness on land (a given), air (the car suspended from a crane over a highway) and sea (the car on a barge floating in SF Bay outside the new Giants baseball stadium). Rather creative media placements, I would say.

Wireless Advertising

It’s been said that America is a third world country in terms of wireless communication, years behind Europe. We are now just beginning to scratch the surface of wireless (cell phones, Palm Pilots, etc.) as a true one-to-one media platform. In the next six months to a year, wireless applications, as ad vehicles, will take off.

I’ll be able to walk down the street, pass my favorite restaurant and have my cell phone call me with a message describing the day’s special. Or I’ll go down the aisle of a supermarket, pass the Diet Coke display and my Palm will receive an electronic coupon for a two-liter bottle for $.79. Then I’ll know the promise has caught up with the potential.

In the new online world, media will need to work faster, be more memorable, and be more relevant to the consumer. Extreme offline branding and wireless advertising can be two of these ways.

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