Thursday, March 17

Advertising-in-the-age-of-podcasts - a manifesto stolen from Dave Winer

I have no idea in hell how I stumbled on this, but in five simple steps Dave Winer lays down the new rules to advertising in open access media. Something I've been thinking a lot about recently.

1. We're seeking out commercial information all the time. When you look up a movie review, or choose a plane flight, shop for an apartment, pick a restaurant or review your stock portfolio, you are seeking commercial information. So, therefore, there's nothing particularly bad about commercials.

2. Most TV and radio commercials are ANNOYING. By design. They're forcing commercial information on you that you DON'T WANT. This is bad.

3. So instead, create commercial information, in any form you like and make it available. This is very different from sneaking it in, or being annoying. Make it available. Then you have a responsibility to be: Informative. Respectful. Entertaining. Wouldn't that be nice?

4. Sometimes commercials are all that. Then I don't skip over them on my TiVO, in fact, what I do is play them over and over on my TiVO. So all the new media does is change the rules. Instead of being intrusive assholes, be entertaining informers.

5. Unfortunately for people who are intrusive assholes, there's not much they can do. Hopefully they made a lot of money in the last century and can retire and be totally puzzled by the way things turned out.

From: Dave's Advertising-in-the-age-of-podcasts Manifesto

My Thoughts:

Not that this is something new, but Dave states it so simply that now maybe a few more advertisers will get it. Clearly right now the vast majority do not. This is not just about advertising in the age of podcasting, but advertising in open access media. That's what podcasting is, a new leap in the ease with which we can access media. With this "quantum leap", this, on demand-ed-ness, comes a widespread change in expectations. A cultural shift. The new boundaries and barriers to the viewer switching the station or turning the dial are much, much lower. No longer will the viewer tolerate 25 minutes of advertising in an hours worth of programing, programing that they're already paying for with cable. Balance is once again restored to the marketplace. A new handshake is made. A new conversation is to be had. This doesn't mean the game is over, this means it's time for a new game. Some people would say the game is in "the long end of the tail", but the truth is the tail is all grown up, it's the new game. Perhaps one day they'll be a billion dollar industry for putting messages on tea leaves. Then we can talk long tail.

For now, I'd just like to thing that perhaps instead of no access, the poor people will enjoy free programming with 15 minutes of ads in and hour while rich people pay to have no ads whatsoever. Or perhaps we'll have no advertising and rich people will subscribe to the the high-res / high fidelity version of life while poor people live a low resolution / low-fi life, not that they'd be hurting that bad that their mp3's are only 192 bit and don't contain 16 tracks with additional surround channels. Perhaps there'll be no such thing as "poor" people and "rich" people to the new economy. Perhaps rich people will still use their shitty Windows because they don't care, and us poor artists and designers will still be able to buy our Mac OS because Windows breaks our poor bleeding hearts. But, who knows what I'm talking about? I'm getting off the subject.

We're talking about a marketplace of IP so seamless that advertising as we know it will be unrecognizable. What will be left is a seamless landscape of ideas where advertisers compete for our attention, not by attempting to buy our "eyeballs" and "ears", but by competing for the right to win us over. As such I would expect a world where commercials are more like Honda Cog, and less like ass-vertising. Though, I must admit, 99% of men would enjoy a little ass-vertising in their info-diet, even if a few of them wouldn't admit it in public for fear of a beat-down from their significant other. Heh, who ever said advertising was politically correct? We're talking about the future. It's not apt to get more moral, it's apt to get more honest, and what could be more honest than ass-vertising?

So, when will this brave new world of advertising get here? It's already arrived. It arrived with every viral advertisement like the Honda Cog that proves you don't win over the word of mouth industry with repetitious catchy jingles, but with entertainment, respect, ...and that other stuff Dave said. Here's the best part... it'll probably take another 20 to 100 years to become fully realized.

Yeah, so? Not what you were expecting? Sorry, but that's not how it works. In fact there will most definitely be so many other factors it this silent revolution that all but a few idiots like me (and Dave!) will ever mark it's passing, and we'll probably do it poorly on some out of the way blog no one has ever heard of. But who am I to compare myself with such flattering words to a great "A list" blogger, like Dave Winer? But there's always hope, and your hope is probably that I'll never blog on this subject again. : )

In summary, I personally have just one rule. Make meaning.

That's right, "make meaning".

There are many stupid rules like it, but this one is mine.

Cheers! :)

Related material:

Honda Cog:
(4.9mb video/quicktime Object)

And, from the movie that inspired Honda Cog:
"The Way Things Go"
p. Fischli & D. Weiss
ca. 1987
(1.5mb video/quicktime Object)

For more info see: Honda Cog

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