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Simple thoughts here, after watching TV for the first time in many months on the weekend, it nearly drove me insane.
Two program’s; the news and the cricket.
The news was 35 minutes program, 25 minutes of adverts. Every 3-4 minutes there was 3 minutes of adverts, how does this not drive people insane?
I can answer that, it does and if it doesn’t it soon will do.
The adverts are on repeat, you can see the media planning working (well not actually working, but you can understand the theory). Eventually if you watch a channel for long enough you begin to get a negative view of the brands you keep seeing.
Maybe the strategy is that as people are less engaged in the ad breaks, we will just make more of them?
Either way, the future of TV is dire if this is the funding model. Not only is the channel matrix fragmenting making mass scale targeting unbelievably hard (which is the essence of most TV advertising theory), but the quality of the programming is dropping and being affected by the ad scheduling.
Why spend $500-$1m creating an ad that people are either not going to see or grow to hate?
If the view is that there are still mass crowds on big shows in the 1m mark, (and it’s always the same audience figure by the way) then I would imagine these people are from a similar background. All the programming is the same; MKR, Master Chef, The Block, X Factor. Same format, essentially the same basic framework.
Are they watching the ads? Are they taking them in? Do they care? Are they, like me, pissed at watching more ads than quality TV?
All questions that seem to have many different answers.. Ask your friends, see what they think as we will never get the truth from the channels or the media.
There is an amazing amount written about the death of this, the death of that. Channels that don’t work etc. blah. etc. Well that is all well and good (although if you listened to all that advertising wouldn’t be an industry), the real problem is not which channels work, as they all do to an extent, the real problem is where and why money is being spent.
The depressing fact is that 90% of all advertising and marketing spend for most brands is just in the wrong place.
Look at the image below:
I am not a big believer in the AIDA principle, it was always flawed and misunderstood human behaviour, however If you are smart and working in advertising or marketing you will realise by now that it is only half the journey. This is not the point though as I am sure most people will get this (although the happiness, loyalty, interaction and advocacy approach is nice don’t you think?).
The point is around the spend that most brands put in to the communications and where it is apportion, the graph is by no way scientific, but represents my 16 years in the advertising world across the world from major to minor brands and it’s wrong.
In a brave new world where people are not listening, are distracted and are becoming used to programmable lives, we still spend a fortune on awareness and acquisition, all the while our customers have the tools and power to be able to reach more people, with a more personalised message.
If we used the creative power of our industry and used that in the ‘customer’ space rather than the ‘audience’ space, the return for brands would be immeasurably better than it is today.
There is a reason that CMO’s are becoming a powerhouse in Tech spend, why ‘platform’ digital agencies are starting to challenge the old world narrative agencies and why human media is probably a wanky, but under used term.
If you want to look at a new and interesting approach to the ‘funnel’, check out Joseph Jaffe
Owned, a nice word, sounds really final, it’s ours, we’ve done it.. Pat on the back kind of word.
But in the advertising world it’s a myth, you don’t own anything, the ‘audience*’ is choosing to be there, or in the most case, not.
We always have to earn the right to interact, 24/7, 365. In fact we have to fight for the right, set and forget is a long distant memory.
Everything we now do as advertisers and marketers has to do ignite an inclusion and a response, even to those who we think we have captured, on channels we think we own.
The future (and indeed the now) is fluid, we need to plan for fluid. Whether you think social media is good or bad, what it has done is create a new mentality and skill set amongst clients and agencies. The key now is how do we take that new knowledge, that new mentality and apply it to all the communication and ‘audience’ interaction points.
What we are looking at is creativity on the fly, in real time, fluid strategic framework that has rubber boundaries rather than controlled actions.
We are talking about real time, right time content, delivered to the right people in the way they want it. This kind of interaction is super hard and not always perfect, nobody has the answer, but I can guarantee you need to try.
The one sure thing is that traditional media and media planning is going to be part of the answer, but only a part and it certainly isn’t and hasn’t been the answer for a long time.
* I use the word ‘audience’ with a sense of dirtiness, there is no audience, but for want of a better word!
Everyone is really worried (again) in the social media world, the young are starting to use networks less and some jumping off all together.
I remember back in the day when social networks meant one thing, talking to your friends in real-time, getting to know what everyone was doing and when. It made life easier, it had a utility.
Today and most platforms are bloated and noisy, they add service rather than thinking about simple utility.
The new generation want to communicate instantly, that is why they are leaving Facebook alone. Apps like Kik, whatsapp and the myriad of social communication apps are giving them everything they need without all the ads and brands.
They are still talking, recommending (liking) and sharing, but it’s not a platform play.
It’s a content world, what have they seen, what can they share and what will their personal network like. More importantly what will their personal network think makes them just a little bit ‘cooler’.
No ‘new news’ here, social future is not a platform play, it’s a content (real-time communication) play.
The caveat: the middle generations with all the cash are still flooding platforms. But, and the real fact, it’s getting boring because 99% of content is dull and so far brands and agencies haven’t worked out how to tell interesting, interactive stories.
Advertising agencies have been struggling to get a grasp of the change towards content, and a move away from advertising. This happens for many reasons and lets get them out the way first:
1. All ad agencies approach content with a script, which is just plain fucking stupid.
2. Ad agencies think content is small ads.
3. Ad agencies want to charge $100k to produce ‘slick’ content.
4. Ad agencies want to take 3 months to produce this ‘content’.
The problem is very simple, content is a stupid word. It’s a meaningless word that actually creates mass confusion both amongst advertisers and clients. Content is translated in to video, which is then translated in to advert. Even in the B2B world, where content is all you have, content is translated in to ‘white paper’ and ‘white paper’ is translated in to dull.
If you change the word content for communication, everyone would be so much happier, content is just communication in a new form and that form can be anything that can be consumed at the time I need it, in the format I want it. It is real-time communication, no scrap that, it is right-time communication.
So there we go, a definition:
Content = Right-time communication
Right-time communication can be anything, video, written, gaming, infographics, mobile utilities, mobile experience, real world experience, POS, a page on a website and on, and on… Consumers are evolving and consuming stuff quicker than we can keep up.
We seem to have got wrapped up in trying to take an old world model of advertising and fitting it in to a misunderstood word and creating what can only be described as useless drivel.
The power of right-time communication (content) is actually getting it at the right time, through the whole ‘path to purchase/information’. The Ad world still seems obsessed with focusing only on the awareness end of the funnel, even with content, it is just seen as TV on a different medium. i.e. we can’t reach them with TV, lets advertise to them through content. It’s bullshit.
There is an underground forming, that are going to very quickly change the face of advertising in Australia, a very exciting time!
Just to set this up at the start, this is not another post from a digital dude obsessed with getting more budget to spend on doing cool things (what digital stands for in most agencies!).
So what am I rambling about? The growing momentum that is going to change the advertising industry forever. The normal everyday guy on the street has moved on quicker than any brand or agency. From media consumption to technology adoption.
First lets start with media consumption, a recent study from the Global Web Index shows that 57% of media consumption is now digital and that digital rules across ALL age groups. This is a NOW stat, not a prediction, what people are doing now.
So lets move on to interaction with mass media channels. To be fair and honest, I have a real problem with all historical mass media channels, from the ridiculous way that TV viewing is measured to the inability to measure effectiveness across most historical mass media. It’s an industry lying to itself on a grand scale. However, fact is harder than just presumption. However, recently the facts have started rising to the surface.
Lets take a great presentation given by Andy Lark (CMO, Comm Bank). He talked about lots of things, but the one that stood out for me was an analysis of one of Australia’s top programs, My Kitchen Rules. He showed a slide that took apart the show and the ad breaks, he then overlayed the people who log in to the mobile and online banking.
There is a bad picture above, but what it shows is that, during the ad breaks, there were spikes in access, the point being, this is one thing people are doing during the ads. Just expand that by all the other brands and you can start to see that people aren’t watching!
Then there is distraction, multi-screening and multi-tasking. A problem that has been specifically related to TV viewing but is a problem across all media. 75% of Australians are now undertaking some form of mult-screening while watching TV, as Andy has shown above. But take a look at people walking around, on trains and buses, where are there heads? Down and looking at their mobiles.
Even Google is getting in on the act, launching the Art, Copy, Code project. Which is titled as re-imaging advertising. It’s all very clever and a great play by Google to move in to the space that creative and media agencies are leaving wide open. The main point to take out of this is the word ‘PhyGital’, horrible marketing bollocks, but a great way of explaining the new world, physical and digital convergence.
This is the start of a journey, but the momentum behind this seismic change in what normal people are doing and the inability for the advertising world to react is palpable. It is getting very hard to fight the fact that advertising is changing and that in the future the world of communication may have nothing to do with adverts at all.
I was reading the latest print copy of AdNews, which is in itself, however that is not the point.
The point is simple, industries are falling apart because they are not thinking about what’s next rather than what has happened or is happening now. The print world is basically dead, and in all honesty for some reason they didn’t see it coming, but now it is the TV and media world it seems.
Read the article entitled ‘Why traditional holds the key to digital’, it is basically a story about how the traditional TV channels have the power even in a new digital era because they can get the content that normal Australians want. Which is great, if you think about the now.
(leaving aside the level and quality of programming in Australia which at best is poor)
If you look to the future though, and look 10 years ahead, a new generation of Australians who are already NOT watching traditional TV ever! Do they think they will suddenly start?
The strategy and the thinking seem to be based on targeting a group of people who are the past, not the future.
It is really infuriating! How can a whole industry be so blind??
Going to keep this one short, a 5 point guide to being a star of the future, not the past:
1. Unlearn – Everything you know and think you know about advertising and marketing. Most of it is now irrelevant in the modern world and if it isn’t, it soon will be.
2. Read – It’s simple the world is changing minute by minute, you need to keep on top of trends minute by minute. Super simple, download Flipboard or Zite, follow the feeds and people and read it everyday for 30 minutes. Also, be on twitter, but be selective about who you follow.
3. Experiment – Gone are the days of expected comms channels, everything is now a comms channel. Unlearn what you think you know about media and go out and experiment.
4. Fail – You have to fail, it’s pretty simple, to innovate and find the answer, you need to try, fail, try. Encourage it, learn from it, park bad ideas and highlight great ones.
5. Technology – It is the future (it’s actually the now but..) you probably have 12-18 months to become a digital star, the future of advertising and marketing is the digital world, it has to be. The writing is on the wall and the careers are changing, time to stop thinking and start doing.
Last Wednesday night I talked about the impending global advertising crisis that in real truth has already started to cannibalise our industry. You can watch the video here.
It was an interesting experiment, firstly I only had 5 minutes to talk about the subject and the slides were automated moving every 15 seconds. A real challenge! So I decided to try something, I decided to ignore the slides completely and show something random, I showed 20 pictures of my favourite muppets. So at least if they thought the subject was dull there was something nice to look at.
It worked, sort of, I forgot one major point, but other than that it reached out to a few people.
My view is this; advertising and marketing are in crisis, advertising has never been at a point in history where it is so ineffective. 75% of advertising spend is still spent on stuff that just cannot be measured, but it is measured, and a lie prevails throughout creative and media agencies that it still works and is financially effective.
The comparison I made was to the Global Financial Crisis, 3 parties, a single lie that is perpetuated in to truth that eventually unravels when the money men pull out.
In advertising, the money men are the CEOs, the CEOs that are getting younger, are more astute and have grown up in a totally different era. As the age of the average CEO drops, so the danger to marketing and advertising increases.
But in reality this is already happening and it’s not just the CEO that is changing things, in Europe several years ago there was a trend towards CMTO, where tech would take over much of marketing, to create utility based communication. Now we are seeing a trend towards the Digital CMO, the one that wants to take the 25% of spend that can be measured and expand it.
Whatever your view point on advertising, the facts are stacking up and there is a change coming. This time it may just be revolution rather the evolution (although advertising is basically in devolution right now!). Only the dinosaurs and naive are saying that everything is fine. It isn’t, we need to move forward and a few marketers and agencies are taking that leap, the early adopters here are going to rip this industry to pieces very quickly.
Again, you can see the talk here.
So all the major news broadcasters have come out to slag off twitter and reddit over Friday & Saturdays man hunt in Boston.
Having spent Friday night locked on to the hunt, the fact of the story is that the broadcast news is too slow. Too slow with the updates, repeat everything 400 times and spend hours talking to journalists on scene that know nothing.
In the modern world of everything in real-time it just doesn’t work.
Yes, there was miss-information and a lot of wrong accusations, but and this is a big but, they are easy to see through and with twitter and the police scanner on, we were at least 15 minutes in front of broadcast news and still know more of the facts than were ever released by the world press.
I concede that in some ways this social news is dangerous, but it’s new and needs to evolve. What is apparent is that the major news corps are nowhere near understanding it or putting it to use.
Now print news, wow, even on Sunday 24 hours after it had all ended they were still reporting news that had been done to death on Friday night. I get that not everyone is always on, but the world is definitely moving that way and it is more likely going to be a future of real-time than not.
The broadcast media needs another kick in the ass or from my point of view, it will die quickly.