Direct Response, Branding, or Both?

By Jim Meskauskas

The following is an email exchange between me and Brian Monahan, long-time Internet media guru and President of Inrhthym Marketing ( in San Francisco.

Brian Monahan:

Hey -- I just read your 2001 predictions on ClickZ. What a kick (nothing like starting off the new year by getting in your friend's grill -- but what the heck, let's have some fun).

What is the rationale for a cross media package? I think the media mix idea of 1 + 1 = 3 is what drives this desire. I never hear anyone talk about audience duplication between vehicles and the enhanced endorsement value of 360-degree coverage by a specific publishing franchise. It doesn't matter because no one could execute on that approach any way.

And what is the [crap] about the web ads not being treated as an ancillary sales channel? Homeboy, all media is going to get treated like a sales channel… All ads will be optimized against there primary objective, which is to sell something fast. "Demos" and "Awareness" are intermediate steps that are no longer needed given increased performance measurability.



I am on board, sort of, with the rich media prediction but not for 2001. Clients will never support it unless it pays out. It won't pay out until we get more creative with how we use the technology. We need to strive for more contextual placements and fewer intrusive witty movie shorts. Think "Tostitos Fiesta Bowl", "Dockers at the Half", the super-imposed ad on MLB backstop telecasts.... think Myst or the Sims for Christ's sake!

You are sounding like the mouthpiece of the establishment. Propinquity was cool and all but does it matter any more? Shouldn't we be talking about measurable sales? Is there such a thing as media rules of thumb in a fragmented media environment when the audience and media consumption experience is unique for every single campaign?

We can't hide behind network carpet-bombing any longer. 'Bout time Ephron got Internet religion.

Join us on the fringe! Throw some bombs! Media companies are building tribes. Media brands are retail channels to their tribes. Uncluttered Free content is dead. Primetime TV is about to become like Times Square. Media reintermediation is upon us. Media Planning is dead. Real time performance data is where it is at.

- and I'm out.

Happy New Year, my friend!


Jim Meskauskas replies:

The reality is that the old saying still holds... be ahead of the curve, just not TOO ahead of the curve, or you will always be alone. The rationale for cross-media packaging is to better create a surround sound marketing environment. It is, indeed, the notion that 1+1=3. But, surprisingly, at least to date, there hasn't been much done in the way of truly innovative cross-media platform packaging. Certainly there would be duplication. In fact, that's the point. There is some evidence I've seen from an online ad sales/technology concern out there that shows CPCs were lower for a sample group served both banner

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