A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a simple marketing world. Creative agencies created advertising, the media department and the media agency devised a media plan (read: TV plan with some ornamental other media), consumers saw said TV campaign and flocked to brick-and-mortar stores and bought the brand or service. If they weren't buying, then at the very least the consumers' perception of the brand or service was improving, as driven by those witty TV ads.
TV ads are about to undergo a huge shift in how they are bought and sold. This change isn't just about the big announcements of late about audience-based TV ads - the OpenAP consortia from Fox, Turner and Viacom, as well as NBCU's announcement that it would reserve $1 billion of its inventory this year for audience-based sales.Nope, something even more fundamental is happening in media, and it's going to have its biggest impact on TV. The future of TV will be about performance.
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. This proverbial statement is especially true for marketers in a corporate setting when disparate groups who rely on one another (at least to some extent) are unable to communicate in the proper fashion. For marketing success to happen, everyone has to be aligned - and in many cases they are simply too distracted to be aligned.
I have to confess, I was actually a fan of Google's "Don't be evil" philosophy. Predictably, once the company went public with it, the cynics were quick to tear it apart. Was it naive? Of course it was. And yet, these days, maybe we need more of that particular type of naivete.
I think it's fair to say that consumers have embraced the new "stories" platforms to express themselves to their friends, family members or hundreds of thousands of followers. I'm just not sure consumers appreciate or watch those same platforms with the same level of interest when the story comes from Gatorade, Mastercard or Ford. And why am I not sure? Because we have no standardized, publicly available data.
We've all heard the promises: Technology is going to give us a better world. It will allow us to feed the masses, democratize education, enjoy unfettered free speech. Healthcare, energy and transport will all be revolutionized and demonetized. We're heading for a brave new world. In many ways things are indeed looking up. Some of these changes are due to technological advances, some to increased levels of education, and some to long-term cultural shifts. But every statistic has multiple interpretations, and every simplistic narrative conceals important nuance.
The television ad industry knows that big change is afoot. Ratings are declining, audiences are fragmenting, digital competition is fierce, and agencies and advertisers are pushing back hard on their CPM increases. Fortunately, however, TV companies have recognized that the future of their ad business will look a lot like digital's, which is why many are working hard to develop digital-like, premium-priced, data-optimized ad products. It's the right move, yet it may not be enough.
There are two competing camps in the digital media landscape: those who respect the past and those who don't. These dichotomous points of view are never more visible than they are in the start-up world, where there's seemingly a war between the two.
Humans are defined by scarcity. All our evolutionary adaptations tend to be built to ensure survival in harsh environments. This can sometimes backfire on us in times of abundance -- both of food and information.
Many of you know that I am a bit of a sport sponsorship snob. Having worked for two of the biggest global sports sponsors, and been closely involved in the negotiation for and implementation of some of the biggest sports platforms in the world does that to you.