Some clever people think that advertising isn’t working on the internet.
In a sense they’re right. Advertising is broken and needs to be re-invented. We need to create discussion. We need to add value. We need to do things that matter.
I was reminded by a tweet from @faris that advertising is an old word and has not always meant what it does now.
Originating from the Latin Ad Vert, it originally meant: “to turn one’s attention”.
Since people are increasingly ignoring traditional advertising, we have to find news ways of “turning attention” on the web. The way to get people’s attention in this most Darwinian of environments is to earn it be creating genuine value. This can be usefulness (think Google Maps and the value it brings to so many other sites) or simply great, entertaining content that stands out even in a content cesspool.
Where does it leave the media who have relied on the ad break to fund their content? Well, maybe they have to become the creators of the adverts, just as Saturday Night Live did.
When I tune in to that show, I don’t want to be interrupted by ads that are less funny, but I am interested in their take on advertising Pepsi. Would this work again? Does this constitute a “sell-out” on the part of the show? I’m not sure yet.
Another example is National Geographic. They have great content, and awesome content creators (especially their photographers). and a bunch of different ways to bring that content to life across multiple channels (print, tv, web, even now an awesome retail space). But I learnt recently that they also have a “creative services” unit, which will help harness these multiple content possibilities and media formats in association with the right brands. For a price, of course.
So are professional content creators the ad men of the future? How else do they monetise their skill-set when no one wants to see ad breaks anymore?
So ad breaks and banners may be in trouble. But Creating value including compelling content together with the true professionals, and “adverting” people’s attention in a more worthwhile way is here to stay.