Commentary

YouTube, Brute?

A recent article in MEDIA magazine suggested that most of the advertising and media world was built on an economic model of largesse and relative inefficiency. To that end, I would think that more agency people would be concerned about the outcome of this year's Super Bowl. It's not the gridiron action they should be worrying about, but the action taking place during the commercial breaks--and one spot in particular.

Frito-Lay is holding a contest for the best homemade Doritos commercial. There are currently five finalists, one of whose ad efforts cost all of $150. Frito-Lay will pay $2.6 million to run the winning ad on the Super Bowl in front of approximately 90 million viewers.

Watching along with these viewers will be many big marketers and their families. No doubt, the Doritos commercial will look fine in comparison to the commercial efforts that may have cost in the millions to produce. It may even score well in the popularity polls afterwards.

It wouldn't be surprising if one of those fans--the spouse of some big marketer--happened to turn to their significant other and ask how much their commercials cost to produce.

"Really," they'll say. And then add that they like the Doritos spot better.

Imagine the number of phone calls to agency heads on the Monday morning after the game.

And the justification that these agency heads will use? Well, it does make one wonder, doesn't it?

To make it even more interesting, Omnicom's Zimmerman agency recently unveiled something called "Pick-N-Click" ads, an automated online service that enables marketers to assemble advertising--TV, print, radio and interactive ads--with a series of drop-down menus.

In fifteen minutes, a user of Pick-N-Click, regardless of how inexperienced, can build a professional-looking ad.

The so-called "You-Tube Effect" is now demanding that marketers ask their agencies why their spots cost so much, while other spots that cost so little can attract 15 million viewers online.

As the MEDIA magazine article suggests, "there is an 'efficiency effect' brought on by the Internet that is starting to manifest itself in a macro way on the overall advertising economy."

While many still feel that this only pertains to the cost of distributing our ad messages, as of Monday, February 5th (the day after the Super Bowl), it will also pertain to the cost of creative.

As advertising slowly sinks further into the commodity abyss, perhaps it is time for the industry to stand up and defend what it does.

Unfortunately, it seems that many of our industry leaders have forgotten what that is.

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