There is a lot of talk these days about measuring results and whether advertising agencies should be more proactive when it comes to finding ways to be accountable for their work. To date, agencies have been somewhat hesitant. And, while the reasons are many, there is one universal truth that goes unspoken. For most agencies, it is far more lucrative to be paid for the possibility of success, than it is for the actuality of results.
With the broadcast upfront recently wrapping up, I was curious to know what role digital video had in this year's contract negotiations. Since broadcasters all have digital properties, it would make sense that they would contract some of that advertising space along with traditional television programming time. In order to get the inside story, I contacted a broadcasting expert, Christine Merrifield, MediaVest's senior vice president of video investment and activation.
For obvious reasons the technology and advertising communities have essentially accepted the Internet as the ultimate originator and final resting place for content. It is not difficult to come to this conclusion. Each day digital Web properties -- flush with high valuation multiples -- charge forward, scooping up properties that they imagine will facilitate the end of today's content companies and delivery platforms. Is the final resting place for all media to be found buried in a server farm? Or is there a new technology on the verge of its very birth ready to create a Big Digital Bang?
There was a time not too long ago when, for most agencies, developing advertising campaigns was about as deep inside a marketer's business as they needed to go... or frequently as far as they were asked to go. Of course, there were exceptions. Leo Burnett's unique relationship with Kellogg's was among the rarest kind of agency/marketer partnerships--where the agency actually WAS the marketing department. But we've come a long way forward since then (some might even argue that actually unbundling took us backward).
Scanning through the agenda at a recent Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco, it was interesting to note that only one panel was devoted to television. Indeed, the phrase "advertising technology," for most, probably conjures up associations with the Internet. Yet while advertisers have been obsessively watching their cost-per-click, television service providers have been positioning themselves to take back ad dollars that might be earmarked for the Web -- through a new phenomenon called addressable advertising, which has the potential as a change agent that the Internet once did.
I am looking forward to the upcoming launch of the joint online video venture between News Corp. and NBC. Since the original announcements were made in March, there has been quite a bit of speculation around what this company would be called, and more importantly, if it will be able to live up to its potential. I suspect it will.
There are times in every creative practitioner's career when inevitably you come across some execution that is so simple, yet so powerful, you're left wondering how something so obvious hasn't occurred to you to do yourself on one of your own brands. Maybe we're just too busy getting lost in the advertising trees to see the simple power of the human forest.
The debates surrounding best practices for online video are certainly getting more interesting by the day. The Online Publishing Association's recent study seemed to buck conventional wisdom's trend towards shorter ads, providing data in support of the branding power of the 30-second spot associated with only two minutes of content. Counterintuitive as it may seem, it is certainly positive news. As with any study, though, the results do need to be taken with a grain of salt, as some very important factors, such as the user experience, weren't looked at in this initial study.
While advertisers have been obsessively watching their cost-per-click, television service providers have been positioning themselves to take back ad dollars that might be earmarked for the Web. Some of the most well-known cable operators and telephone companies have been modifying their networks in ways that could give them the capability to deliver TV content, including advertising, to very small groups of users within a larger demographic region, or small groups of users with common interests within a market or system.
Allow me to remind the media planners and buyers, marketers, clients and publishers that waste is a bad thing. Spill isn't too positive either, but we'll save those tears for later. It's a widely held truth that the mass market isn't all that mass anymore, even on TV. So instead of buying a spot on "Survivor" over the summer, maybe, just maybe, I can more effectively reach my prospects in-market through an online video plan.