Last Week's Watershed Marketing Moments, From Mediapost Headlines

There were a few news items last week that seemed indicators of the fact that the end of the old marketing world is really here. Now. This year.

That end, of course, has already been here for at least a couple of years. Or perhaps it’s been here since Joseph Jaffe wrote his first book, “Life After the Thirty-Second Spot,” back in 2005. But let’s just say that the signals have gone from being intermittent to persistent and now span all aspects of marketing, while back in 2005 one could be forgiven for thinking just that the revolution was no longer televised and was going to be driven by digital advertising (instead of digital marketing).

So what did I see in the news that – for me – cemented that we ‘re no longer witnessing “the beginning of the end” but are now truly at the end of the era of “your dad’s marketing”?

1.  Honda thinks that music content is more powerful than TV advertising. Joe Mandese reported from the OMMA Premium conference that Honda USA was switching from TV advertising to music content creation and sponsorship to reach Millennials. He wrote: “While TV is‘still relevant’ and continues to represent an important reach medium for national marketers, it is no longer sufficient for influencing consumers -- especially the kind of 20- and 30-somethings American Honda Motor Co. is looking to reach, Assistant Vice President-Marketing Tom Peyton asserted during a keynote opening OMMA Premium… Peyton described the strategy as a ‘TV replacement for us.’”



Now you can argue with the Honda strategy and whether music as a “reach vehicle” is appropriate to replace TV commercial storytelling. But the message in this case is more important than the execution (which we haven’t seen yet anyway, so let’s reserve judgment). And in no way is Honda alone. P&G, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Mondelez, Ford; the list of Fortune 500 advertisers doing things differently is long and growing.

2.  Facebook is reducing advertising clutter. Intrepid reporter Joe Mandese also reported from the OMMA RTB conference about Facebook’s efforts to reduce ad clutter and increase engagement (at a higher ad cost). Facebook realized that stuffing its news feed with “ads everywhere” simply is not in anyone’s interest (consumers, advertisers). So it’s changing.

This memo clearly has not yet reached the TV industry. My old-school screen is filled by ever more commercial messages “beyond the commercial”: a camera angle, the presenters’ clothes,  commercial-free or near-commercial-free programs (a contradiction in itself), it can all be bought. And the print media jumped on the “everything for a buck” bandwagon as well, with sponsored content and native advertising (aren’t those two things the same?).

3.   Network and cable TV upfront revenues are down. Wayne Friedman reported that “Broadcast upfront revenues are estimated to drop 7.7% to $8.45 billion from the $9.15 billion level in 2013,” while the forecast for cable is a decrease of 4.7% in revenue, to $9.68 billion.
This will be “the first decline for cable since it dropped to $6.92 billion in the 2009 upfront period.”

Perhaps future generations will refer to this year’s developments as the “Honda Moment” in marketing history: the year that old-school, TV-centric marketing finally ended. Isn’t it time you join?

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