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Has the Future of Advertising Changed At All? August 8, 2007

Posted by Celso in Advertising, Technology.

This post has been originally posted in my website, here.

The media and advertising enthusiast who on a daily basis follows the latest trends involving the subject is constantly asking how the media landscape will shape itself in the light of new media platforms, players and tightened ad budgets. Television will soon become an obsolete medium. Google is positioning itself to take over the advertising game, buying and selling TV, radio and online advertisement and eventually will eliminate the need for advertising agencies. And those infamously expensive 30-second spots aired during the Super Bowl will finally lose their incredibly hyped glare. For now these statements will remain as prophecies. What’s next in advertising has not changed at all as the recently revealed digital advertising strategy of the Publicis Group can attest. Publicis, as some may recall, recently made news for acquiring the Boston-based advertising agency Digitas in order to drive its digital efforts. According to this strategy, the recent future of advertising can be summarized in a few overused words that have adorned business publications for more than a decade: globalization, offshoring, digitization and convergence. Ultimately, Publicis goal is to achieve a one-to-one relationship with the consumer, which has been the dream of advertisers for as long as I can remember.

Perhaps this motionless perception is a bit too cynic on my part. Perhaps this strategy is instead the first seen tangible plan of action for achieving the results associated with all of these overused words. This is a plan involving the use of cheaper offshore labor to develop tailored product and service offers to consumers here and abroad, based on each person’s individual needs, tastes and peculiarities. It capitalizes on the two-way relationship between people and media (as opposed to TV’s one way communication model) which allows for the collection and analysis of behavioral data that will eventually result in a customized offer that the consumer will watch on any screen looked at during the average 17 daily hours humans spend awake. It can be the beginning of finally making what has been next become present. Publicis’ strategy sure plays along much like a Thomas Friedman narrative but successfully implementing it can become a Herculean task (just as some of the suggestions Friedman makes in his books) that will surely change the way consumers and brands interact.

While we wait to see the results of Publicis change of course, the questions surrounding search and online advertising companies still remain. David Kenny, CEO of Digitas and the man behind the new strategy, disagrees that any of the search giants can become both a medium provider and an ad agency representing the best interests of clients. For him, a strategic decision will have to be made between these two very distinct business propositions. And this is why, perhaps in a biased way, Mr. Kenny believes that ad agencies will continue to exist, linking consumer brands to content providers, even if search companies are the ones controlling all media. Once again, the advertising world finds itself entrapped in yet another prediction of what’s in store for the always-evolving media landscape.



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