Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Truth, Lies & Advertising

Someone passed on a comment asking me to clarify my online advertisings dirty little secret posting.

The question was, am I saying that online advertising doesn't work or that I am anti-advertising? Actually the answer is not at all, so I guess I better clarify :)

My post was attempting to question the current definition of online advertising which is based on traditional mass advertising thinking. I don't like how it is defined and truthfully, I think that maybe the problem lies withe the usage of the word advertising.

A while back I had seen a great post at Adliterate that asked the question, are brand ideas to big for advertising?". As well, if you add to the mix multi-dimensional branded customer experiences, then you know for sure that the term advertising is no longer as relevant as it used to be. My point was, and still is, that online advertising as it has been traditionally defined by organizations like the IAB have a very narrow and limited definition and it simply doesn't work.

Secondly, I talked about current methods for measurement and tracking. My point was that we again, are using old tools (and old thinking) to measure a new medium. What is required are holistic approaches and one that take into consideration that the system will always be imperfect. There are ways to improve on it. Just this morning, I was talking to someone who is working on an overall KPI approach. I mentioned to her that I have long wanted to apply social impact assessment models (which are used in Environmental planning to measure non-quantifiable assets and inputs such as loss of culture) into assessment models. More food for thought.

Finally, I wanted to make the point that in an effort to "sell" the digital space, many organizations and companies have made promises to clients that they were then unable to meet. While digital allows for far greater accountability than say a print ad, the Utopian promise of everything is measurable has still not been delivered to clients on a consistent basis. Can it be going into the future? Well, as my friend Vanessa likes to say, with the right people, enough time and enough budget, anything is possible.


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