Posted by: singularlogic | May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Sales – Time to Program the Advertisers

by Paul Douglas

For generations we have been programmed to wait for Memorial Day sales in furniture and vehicles which has expanded to just about every other product category. This year’s economic downturn has sparked some creativity with some states offering Memorial Day tax breaks.

As we moved into the 21st century we are being programmed to believe that search advertising will deliver us relevant products and services. In his book What Would Google Do, author Jeff Jarvis is in awe of the company for opening up advertising to millions of smaller companies through Google’s Ad Sense. Search however, does have shades of being imprecise. Would it be more transparent to ask the consumer what they are interested in and what they are opposed to watching?

I agree with Jarvis’ point about getting out of the way of consumers establishing relationships with companies in an interview with Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion. This direct question or at least a dialogue will help do that, and what would the advertising agency do? They would produce content with greater information, perhaps even more entertaining, but with less emphasis on getting your attention and convincing you that you need X.

Advertising in this century is the search for what is relevant, and that starts by asking the question, what are you interested in? It’s the consumers way of programming the advertisers, and that’s the way it should be.

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Responses

  1. You are right on target… recent quote from Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast…

    “But we are working on how to give more value to the Procter & Gamble’s, not somebody who says I know I want to buy such
    and such car, let’s Google search it and go and execute at the most efficient way possible. People who want to sell a brand and
    want to create an image. They want to do it — however broadcast is now not delivering the value for the money that or newspapers
    that used to do. So how do I get more of a Google-type intelligence, put it in motion, that can only be accomplished with video.
    I think we are the answer. Now we have got to execute that and it may take longer than anyone would like. But the fact is we
    are out with our first product out of Canoe, which is being able to have the same ad at the exact same time across the whole
    country and have different creative versions for different demographics.
    The Holy Grail is one to one. It’s Brian. I have been doing a web search, I have opted in for privacy, I know what my issues are
    but I want you to give me a special, a better ad experience than just a broadcast head. But you can start down that road by
    having the technology capability and having all the MSOs working together and offering that to the programmer and saying
    how would you like to run. And that is what AMC and I think another couple of networks are doing right now in our first product
    of creative versioning coming out of Canoe.”

  2. Rob,
    Appreciate your thoughtful post and agree; now is the time for smart experimentation. We’ve met with Canoe and shared our vision of user-choice; it sounds like they’re keeping all options open. Zip code targeting is a best practice for advertising, about to make the leap to your TV cable set-top box, a step in the right direction. But having a true user opt-in capability, where he or she shares preferences, literally defines what is (and what is not) important and relevant in their lives, is (in our humble opinion at least) the Holy Grail. Make it easy for consumers to go back and revise/change those preferences as their lives/needs change over time. So advertising becomes something close to wish fulfillment. One thing seems clear: there is room for massive experimentation to see what will bring a badly needed (and sustainable) CPM lift across the board. Status quo probably isn’t a good long-term business plan.


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