Monday, August 9

Wired 12.08: The Lost Boys — The new media paradigm in advertising

I'm trying something new. This Wired article based on the shifting media paradigm I nearly wanted to quote the whole thing. So, since I don't think Wired would like that, and it's not within the scope of fair use I've decide to move to a heavily annotated style, which really interweaves some of my perspectives.
Since the big broadcast networks no longer deliver the mass audience the company needs, Coca-Cola cut its network ad spending last year by 10 percent. 'Where are we going?' Coke's then-president, Steven Heyer, asked rhetorically at an Advertising Age conference in 2003. 'Away from broadcast TV as the anchor medium.' Acknowledging that many in the ad industry are afraid to follow, he added bluntly, 'Fear will subside, or the fearful will lose their jobs. And if a new model isn't developed, the old one will simply collapse.'"
The music industry needs to learn from Steven Heyer. He is a wise man. I was beginning to think no incumbent corporations got the new bottom-up media paradigm. At least Steven Heyer is willing to listen. I'll give a heads up the old models for business and advertising DO NOT WORK, perhaps they never did. We just traded a pound of physical flesh for a pound of mental flesh where the damage was not nearly so visible... ADHD and anxiety disorders galore. What we need is simple, we need to embrace people power. People will celebrate great products and people will participate in the marketing and even creation and development of new products if they feel the companies give half a shit about them. Example: Open Source Software
"Used to be, TV was the answer," proclaimed the president of GM North America. "The only problem is that it stopped working sometime around 1987." The broadcast networks have been losing audience share for years, thanks to the remote control, TiVo, and all the new channels on cable and satellite. But when Nielsen Media Research announced last fall that young males - the hardest-to-reach and most intensely targeted subset of humans in North America - were watching 12 percent less prime-time network TV than the year before, Madison Avenue went on orange alert. True, the falloff was only 26 minutes a week - but in the ad business, a few lost minutes can add up to major trauma
In the five years that Jeffrey Cole has been running the UCLA Internet Project, he's found that Net users consistently watch less TV than other people - in 2003, more than five hours less per week. This pattern has held for every age group, for both sexes, and in every country he's studied, from Hungary to South Korea. Young men are simply the advance guard.
. . . "The business model of television, which is to deliver viewers to advertisers," he declares, "is as troubled as that of the music industry."
Amen to that. However the difference is that advertisers are acting as intermediaries to change business models.
"People don't have to listen to you anymore, and they won't," declares Tim Harris, the 30-year-old co-chief of Starcom's new video-game operation. "I mean, I resent commercials - they make me push three buttons on my TiVo."

"I feel manipulated and angry," says Lee, a 33-year-old musician. "Having these things forced down my throat all the time - especially with network television, it's loud, it's brash."

"Now that I have TiVo, I realize how much of TV is actually commercials," says Nick, a 25-year-old marine biologist. "I can watch two shows in almost the time it took me to watch one. Then if I see a commercial I like, I'll go back to it."

"I don't think they hate ads," concludes the session's moderator, Jane Buckingham, who heads CAA's Youth Intelligence unit. "They hate bad ads. If it's a cool ad, they're going to watch it."
Correct-a-mundo! People don't hate ads. However the average male has probably seen over a thousand feminine product ads by the time they're 18 years old. The average male could probably name the top five brands, but they will NEVER make the decision as to what brand to buy. This is simply put, "metal pollution" and what we need is a little "mental environmentalism".
Take the Quiznos Spongmonkeys. Created by Joel Veitch, a London-based Web and TV producer who specializes in hilariously asinine Flash animations, the Spongmonkeys are almost certainly the first cartoon rodents to be enlisted in a fast-food campaign. The spots - which show one of the razor-toothed, demented-looking furballs strumming a guitar while the other screeches a paean to Quiznos ("We love the subs! 'Cuz they are good to us.") - became an instant sensation when they debuted in February. Viewers either loved them or thought they were the most revolting thing they'd seen since, well, since the last batch from Quiznos, one of which showed a guy in a business suit sucking a wolf's teat.
What in the hell do some freaky little spongemonkeys have to do with Quizno's Subs? Nothing, but we thank you Quiznos for making us laugh. You're advertisers understand the new bottom up business paradigm. In fact before Quizno's Joel Veitch was just a one man publishing company with merely some Flash animations and a website, but his animated creations are hilarious and he's had a cult following for as many as five years.
"With this generation," says Bogusky, "it's, I know you're marketing something to me, and you know I know, so if you want me to try a new chicken sandwich, that's cool - just give me some crazy chicken to boss around.

Strictly speaking, of course, this isn't a generation at all. The 18-to-34 demo actually straddles the tail end of Generation X and the leading edge of what demographers are calling the Millennials. "The younger group is a lot more positive," says Bogusky. "They're not so angst-ridden, not quite as ironic and cynical. They wanna have fun." There's also more of them - some 70 million, compared with 76 million baby boomers and the 41 million in Gen X. Millennials tend to be less suspicious than their predecessors, but they're still too smart for most marketers. "The hardest job is surprising them," Bogusky adds. "Usually they know what you're going to do before you do it."
Now we get to the heart of the matter. This new generation is less sarcastic, less bitter, less ironic, less cynical, and has less angst. Translation: When you're not being force fed your culture and your life and actually feel like you have control over it, have input on the external world, and that your opinions and ideas outside of your profession have a value within the open market and other people and corporations actually listen you in turn have a higher capacity for and greater understanding and respect for the differences between bullshit and good fun. Tuning out of 120, 30 second commercials doesn't just equal saving an hour, it equals having mental capacity to stop on the street and actually have a conversation with a stranger and be able to listen to them. It equals having time to think and explore and discover and create and to have an increase capacity and positive impact on society. If you want your captive audience you'll find it in a jail cell with and inmate and a TV, but not even that for long.
"This younger generation has a filter mechanism," observes Jim Lentz, group VP of marketing at Toyota Motor Sales USA. Lentz has his own focus group at home: two sons, ages 17 and 21. "They can be doing their homework, listening to music, watching TV, on the PC, and on the phone, all at the same time. It drives my wife crazy. You assume they're just screwing around - but they're not." This ability to focus is governed by a complex neural network called the reticular activating system, which filters sensory input to keep the brain from being overwhelmed. When you grow up in an always-on world this system may adjust to cope. "They have a total ability to block out anything they don't want to get through," Lentz marvels. "From an advertising standpoint, that's what makes this animal so scary."
Ha, Jim Lentz, group VP of marketing at Toyota Motor Sales USA just referred to his target audience as animals. Let me return the favor: "Referring to people as animals is just something those monsters in advertising do." They don't see anyone as human beings which is half their problem.

Filters? I don't know about that, a more sophisticated mind set, perhaps. Greater focus? Definitely. It comes with being able to think clear thoughts and follow through on logical progressions without interruption when we want to. Greater control breeds greater capacity.
To promote a new line of phone-cams, Sony Ericsson hired actors to pose as tourists and ask people to photograph them with the phones. The catch-all term for such campaigns is "experiential," because the point is to create an experience memorable enough to break through the filter mechanism and generate buzz - something far more likely to register with media-saturated guys than advertising.
It's all about experience? Definitely.

It's all about manipulating experience overtly? Definitely not. You might get away with it once or even twice, but sooner or later someone's either going to put you in jail or put in your nose.

As for the rest of the article. It's all about how Nielsen is trying to stay on top of the rating game. I say fuck Nielsen. Companies should come on down to the blogosphere level, say hello to Tivo technology, and be prepared to eat the shit of actual "human beings" for a while now that the tables are turned and there is no longer a captive audience of "eyeballs or animals".

From: Wired 12.08: The Lost Boys

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