Fred Wilson: Old Advertising Is "Dumb"

Speaking at MEDIA magazine's Future of Media Forum this morning, leading digital media industry Fred Wilson, is calling the old advertising model -- and attempts to apply it to new, digital media -- "dumb." That's right, he is saying that banner ads and pre-roll and other attempts to retrofit classic advertising models into media like Web sites, are anachronistic.

Instead, he says the new model is what you might see when basketball superstar LeBron James tweets about Nike.

"That's the new way to advertise," he says. Digitas chief Laura Lang is countering that Wilson, and the other digerati on stage at the Times Center in New York, as well as media critic Michael Wolff, simply don't get the way Madison Avenue and its clients are changing, and that they actually do understand the new consumer "journey" and how they are using digital media to connect with brands.

"We have the wrong definition of advertising. We actually live in a post advertising world. And it's a world in which we have to go to market in different way," Lang says. "We have to build active brands... It's a world in the way in which I consume my content is going to give me a path for how I feel about a brand."

3 comments about "Fred Wilson: Old Advertising Is "Dumb"".
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  1. Roger Wilson from The Conference Department, Inc., September 29, 2010 at 9:34 a.m.

    "Post advertising world" my a---! The demand for display and image advertising is not growing as fast as the demand for direct marketing media with all the new online options but we are very far away from any post advertising world.

  2. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, September 29, 2010 at 3:48 p.m.

    In the new generation of “online advertising” came all sorts of methods of distribution of the ads. Nearly all of the old methods we discarded. Mainly this is because every “click” could be counted and categorized. However I went back to a tried and true method, billboard pricing. With billboard pricing I charge a flat monthly fee for text link ads. is the second leading publisher of sweepstakes. We work with ad agencies, sponsors and marketing companies love this method. It takes out the guess work, eliminates click fraud and gives the sponsor a clear view of what happens with their promotion. The success of the promotion really gets down to the prizes, the sponsor, and the type of sweep or contest. The bigger problem is getting so-called experts to changes their minds on what works and what doesn’t.

  3. Luke mcdonough from AIR.TV, September 29, 2010 at 6:21 p.m.

    I love fred and I agree with much of what he says, but this is hopelessly out of touch... The LeBron James example is not is just contemporary. Marketers have always found out-of-the-box ways to advertise and brand themselves. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not...but everyone, especially brands like Nike, always dabble...But whatever Nike says about the "success" and "importance" of "innovative" campaigns like having LeBron tweet its products, Nike is still spending 1,000X more money every year on the impression-based ads that Fred says are "dumb." Whatever its advantages and disadvantages, impression based web and TV ads are what EVERYONE still uses, and that will be the case for a long long? As long as it takes for someone to figure out how "celebrity tweets" or any other "new" idea is able to support a liquid and flexible $80 B/year media market that works better than the TV and web ads that fill that market today.

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