Dave, Alcohol and Wallpaper (in that order)

  • by March 7, 2002
Over the course of the last couple of months, I’ve made mention of a trend where bits of offline are beginning to manifest themselves in online ideas and executions. Case in point was the Yahoo! back page Pepsi creative. Well, over the course of the last week, I picked up on three pieces of traditional media news, which had interesting implications and applications for the Interactive arena. For one thing, they show definite links between the online and offline worlds. Also, they reflect the reverse trend: online insights evident in the offline space.

The first piece of news surrounded the big announcement that Dave Letterman is seriously considering making the jump from CBS to ABC, and in so doing displacing Ted Koppell’s Nightline. According to the press, even if this deal doesn’t go through, Koppell is on his way out. This move, in conjunction with other personnel changes, is part of a bigger ABC initiative to appeal to a younger demographic.



I think this is less about Koppell and more about the role Television plays as a primary source of news. In an effort to bring down the average age of the late night ABC viewer, I suspect a couple of execs put 2 and 2 together to realize that their audiences just don’t need any more news at 11:30 at night. The fact is, younger consumers have embraced the Web as a core part of their daily information-gathering lives and we’re beginning to see a spin-off effect of this trend. Sorry Ted, you lost this round.

Another bit of information that drew my attention was a nifty side-by-side comparison done by one of the New York dailies that essentially used advertising revenues, ratings and estimated audience size to arrive at a cost-per-viewer metric. On the one hand it was good to see a bit of media math in an arena that is not as finely scrutinized like online is. On the other hand, this metric is only able to assign a value to the possibility of exposing a viewer to the creative in question. No targeting. No proof of view. No proof of action. Makes me think how we set ourselves up for failure by making us too accountable too soon.

Segue to another article, which concluded that hard liquor advertisers weren’t all flocking en masse to television in order to take advantage of the new relaxed laws governing liquor advertising. Part of the reason is budget-driven; part of the reason is the PSA Catch-22 mandate; part of the reason is that if it ain’t broke, why fix it? This also hints at the fact that television isn’t always the answer. Or putting it a different way, there is a combination of status quo and inertia that comes with doing things a certain way. The learnings here are directly applicable to the Web in terms of adjusting a media mix which has worked in the past.

The converse to this inference is the fact that if it is broke, then perhaps it is time to try something new.

Finally, I happened to glance at a fellow-commuter’s newspaper. Said commuter had his newspaper tuned in to the stock market prices and I was intrigued by a rather recognizable icon which was watermarked into the page – the Cingular logo.

This made me think immediately of the CBSMarketWatch wallpaper approach, which debuted about 9 months ago if memory serves correctly. The financial context of the stock market seemed too much of a coincidence; in fact, I’d be disappointed if there was no link between the two.

Assuming there was indeed a common bond between the two executions, I would posit a couple of possible scenarios: 1. There’s integrated dialogue going on at Cingular’s agency or 2. Someone on the traditional side has actually gone online in the past 30 days (wonder if they were included in MRI’s last research wave?) Either way, it’s a really good thing for media.

The lines between online and offline are blurring fast and those that get it are realizing quickly that the role for communications is one shared jointly by all media vehicles and all communication channels. What works for one medium may be directly applicable for or adaptable to another one. And so it would seem, that some of the answers we’re searching for are right underneath our noses. Now if only we’d just open our eyes!

- Joseph Jaffe is Director of Interactive Media at TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York, where he works with clients including Kmart, ABSOLUT Vodka, Samsonite, Embassy Suites and Cunard. His primary focus is to highlight interactive's value and benefit in meeting his clients' integrated business and branding objectives.

Next story loading loading..