Saturday, 31 January 2009

The Death of Frequency

Comment posted to AdAge.com, Jan. 29, 2009: ABC Says Web Viewers Will Tolerate Twice the Ads

The 'TV ad industry' is on a slippery slope here. OF COURSE you can do almost the same thing you do on the net that you do on TV and put many advertisers into a show (I sometimes think the brains of people in the industry went into paralysis in the face of what is simply a new conduit for content, albeit interactive -- maybe it was the influence of 'fear politics'!), but the simple, core lesson that the Internet has taught us is still in danger of not penetrating into the consciousness of the majority: NO MORE REPETITION! Only Apple, who (until this past holiday season) gets this and constantly cycles new, genuinely funny, inexpensively produced video ads into their mix.

When was the last time you felt the need to sit through another viewing of an ad you've already seen? MAYBE you'll watch a really funny ad twice, but rarely more. Zapping and clicking away are what consumers do to explain this really clearly to all the wannabe film directors dreaming of winning a Lion -- NO ONE wants to watch their 'short films' more than once.

Make your ads interesting and watchable, lobby the unions for lower residuals and the production companies to reduce costs, and figure out how to crank out more new ads and more quirky versions of each in different lengths and you will win in this new age where the consumer is in charge, not of the marketing industry, but of what they are interested in (and don't mistake the later for a desire amongst consumers to create advertising -- everyone prefers professionally written and produced ads to amateur attempts). Just don't try to force viewers to watch any ad more than once. It's all about reach today, NOT frequency.

Otherwise nothing much has changed radically for advertising in the 'motion picture' A/V format, outside of the fact that ATL is now merely a small part of a brand's 'ecosystem'. This traumatic shift has meant that, ironically, the formerly relatively small element of PR has become VASTLY more important (due to consumer to consumer conversations), and experiential marketing (XM) has finally become recognized as the key tool for locking-in brand loyalty.

Where will The Death of Frequency lead our industry?  To our Holy Grail!  (Click this title to read more.)

To see a portion of my keynote on this insight, click the play button:

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