Monday, November 1, 2010

Do We Want Interactive Digital Ads?

Maybe? Maybe not? Mostly not.

Depends on the platform. We all like keeping current with Brands via Advertising. Mostly passively. We like knowing we can go to a Brand Website when we wish. We book mark many stores and media websites because they have stuff we like buying and content we like reading or viewing. We sign up for email offers that we rarely open until we feel like buying something. We might see a neat campaign that makes us take digital/mobile/social action almost always we learn about these neat campaigns off line.

But I see the Digital and Social Media Shops selling Kool Aid to Brands because of their monetary self interest. That is ok. It's how business works. But Brands need to be smart about these pitches.

I read this post from Ad Week on the Publishers failing on the IPad 

I understand the view point of Mr. Morrissey when he discusses Wired. Sounds like a horror what they created. 500MBs for Wired? Hello!

What I take a bit of umbrage at is the view that we want more than a glorified PDF when reading a Magazine on a Tablet. Yes and no. I would love to have more interactivity with the content I pay for. But not for the Ads. All I want from Ads is a back link so I can go to their website (or micro-site or Facebook/Twitter page). That is it. I want static ads with links. Your static Ad is your pitch to me just like a Print Magazine. I want to flip the pages just like print. Browse the Ads. I want to be happy I am saving trees and all the raw materials sucked into making Print (bleaches, acids, oil, etc that create pollution and CO2). And I will pay normal subscription price to read the content of the Magazine. But I don't want interactive ads. Could really care less.

But don't ask a Digital Shop. This is taboo. They want you thinking you must pay them to be interactive. They will glorify this to no end. Tease you with promise. But fact is we can all go to any Brand website we want to today. When I see a TV commercial I can go to their site right now. But I don't. Why not? Because unless there is a reason I know it's always there and I can go any time. A clever campaign or unique content might, but otherwise, it is there when I need it.

Now I come from outside the industry. I have 25 years of being Joe Blow Consumer prior to coming into this industry. I have not been groomed during 20 years of a professional career insulated and brainwashed. Maybe in 10 years I will be. Hopefully not.

What Digital Agencies fail to recognize is Marshal McLuhan is wrong here. The Medium is not the Message. The Message is the Message. Campaigns rule here. Creativity rules here. Not the platform. Craft your campaigns online and off line in ways that span all mediums and platforms, in ways that make me want to buy or try something. Be clever. Tell me about new flavors, new store openings, new promotions. But bland branding? No Sale.

But don't tell that to the Digital Agencies Brands pay to handle their Advertising. They will be telling Brands an interactive Ad is going to be a home run (online, tablet, mobile etc) They don't want Brands realizing Great Products, Great Service at the Right Price almost sells itself. Why? Because it means reducing their billings. Would a Digital Agency tell a Brand a Print Ad is all they need or an Out of Home Billboard or vice versa? Never. But that does not serve the clients/brands. (My point is this self bias is not just for Digital Agencies)

It's the Campaign, the Product, the Value, and the Need/Want that becomes a sale. Not the Medium. And trust me. The first person I hear who says they bought an IPad because of the possibility of Interactive Ads will be the first.

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