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  Ads must prove they are watched, responded to, in near future

First Thoughts: It is only just becoming obvious that TV advertising is no longer working quite so magically as it did for the past 50 years, but the major brands that have relied on TV must have felt the weakness in brand creation from this medium for some time.

If people watch less television, they see ads less often, if at all. If people watch less television, it is because they are doing other things with their leisure hours and only one of these things is using the internet.

Headlines about the rise in internet advertising abound and this week's report that suggests that it will double in the next five years typifies them. Online advertising to double by 2010, leaving TV behind.

But with global internet ad revenues beginning to rival US TV ad revenues, all of the effort has gone into shifting the focus of advertising to the internet.

Just as clearly, online games, platform games, DVRs, DVDs and film downloads are where much of the lost TV time is being spent. Very few of these advertising routes are fully explored and when they are, they could each begin to rival the conventional TV spend. Mobile phones are not used so much in the home, but will have the same advertising pull during previously unused "transit" hours, as these other formats have in "Home leisure" hours.

Hardly any money is spent advertising on games yet, but this is surely destined to be a multi $billion business in short order because the mechanisms are there in the US and being built elsewhere. Only TiVo has begun the experimentation into DVR advertising something that could make it worth about 5 times what it is worth today, while DVDs only advertise entertainment products and film downloads are so far mostly illegal.

In the world that is coming, TV channels may be delivered across multiple platforms - broadcast, cable, satellite, IPTV, cellular, DVR - and it will be increasingly difficult to gauge whether or not a brand is getting its message across or not.

As more and more of these services develop a return path, greater emphasis can be placed on confirming that an ad has been seen, and on direct response, whichever is the more appropriate.

Final Thoughts: Everyone in the advertising food chain needs to pioneer the new channels aggressively, adding cross platform advertising measurements to the mix, to ensure they can deliver for their clients.


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