All that glitters is not gold

Whenever some new fancy pants piece of technology or innovation emerges these days there's usually a great deal of clamour and unqualified nonsense from digital evangelists and neophiles that this piece of technology or innovation is brilliant and will change everything.

Remember when the "Red Button" was going to change advertising for good? We were told that with  this amazing, innovative functionality, people would actually stop watching the programme a commercial was actually interrupting to magically interact with a piece of advertising [i.e. sign up to take a test drive of a brand new Mazda or some shit like that].  Would they heck as like.

Similarly, there's a lot of kerfuffle about Vine right now and you get the sense that this is yet another bandwagon to be jumped on as these neophiles scurry around trying to convince us all that six second video clips are the new Holy Grail.

There's a ridiculous belief held by many, and not just the fringe lunatics, that just because something is new it must be better than what has gone before.  That just because something is new it is therefore ripe for commercial exploitation by marketers who can reach a valuable new audience for very little or no investment.

Just because you can use something for the purposes of advertising doesn't necessarily mean you should. Anyone clicked on a banner ad deliberately recently?

It beggars belief the amount of time, energy and money that advertisers in low interest categories spend trying to "engage" their audience on Twitter, Facebook etc.

The most frightening thing in our business right now [apart from the dearth of great creative work] is the dangerous assumption that most people are already interested in what we have to say and want to take part and get involved in some kind of conversation or relationship with a brand.

There may be a tiny percentage of hardcore advocates of a brand who fit this bill.  But not many I wager.  If in doubt, always refer to Poliakov's Pyramid Of Engagement 

Most clients spending their valuable shekels on advertising need to recruit new users for their brand or product.  Our primary job is to use our creativity to get them interested in that brand or product in the first place.  Yes, that might still mean communication that is more one-way "interruption" rather than a two-way dialogue, but when done with charm, craft and reward this type of advertising is a far, far more effective use of advertising investment. Full stop.



    As a smarter man than myself put it recently, Clients are overwhelmed and confused by the disinformation around SM and new technology. While often they know it may not be the most effective use of their budgets they are concerned that if they don't get involved now, they will be left behind, both in terms of their brand, but more importantly they will miss out on some tech education which will make them less likely to get their next job. So it becomes a self-fullfilling cycle. Someone needs to put a big stick in that cycle and expose the dreadful ROIs for SM campaigns and the questionable 'buyral' practices of some digital agencies. D

  2. Very, very true Mr Byrne. Are you armed with such a big stick yourself?

  3. I prefer carrots to sticks. I have no desire to send trustafarian 'social media gurus' tumbling over the handlebars of their tokyo fixed gear bikes onto the hard tarmac of piss poor ROI. Much better for clever chaps like you to show them a better way.

  4. I just schooled by one of 'them' lot. Guess she told me, when she wrote -

    "Like the 90's the technology is enabling much tighter integration then before ultimately, I believe, defining a new channel that pulls social, information and connection (with people, devices, buildings) together..."

    Err - whatever you say.

  5. I'm a strategist who does a lot of digital work (having spent a lot of time in digital roles previously) and I spend most of my time telling clients why this particular new shiny thing is not right for them for this precise reason.

    Digital is amazing. I'm constantly astounded by what's been made possible by technology to make disruptive, entertaining and targeted advertising.

    But seeing so many brands get it very, very wrong (and so many agencies pushing them to get it wrong in pursuit of short-term profit) is really frustrating.

    My only hope is that the ad industry seems to be maturing and there seems to be a few more sensible people around these days than there were a couple of years ago. Hopefully this trend will continue.


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