Jun 27, 2007

Things That Are The Same

As I’ve mentioned before, the single most annoying thing about the Web 2.0-niks is their fervently held belief that they have discovered just about everything to do with advertising and that no one had ever thought of any of these ideas before 2002.

So as a courtesy to them and to further their education, I’ve compiled this list of Web 2.0 “innovations” and their Jurassic era precursors along with a little explanation.

NEW: Viral Video
OLD: Ads with “pass-along value.”
Back in olden times when people saw an ad in a magazine or newspaper that they thought was funny, they stood up, walked over and showed it to their wife or roommate or officemate—IRL!!! We used to tell clients that ads that were very funny or memorable had “pass-along value” in that people would show them to their friends, thus extending reach of the media buy.

NEW: Blogger Outreach Programs
OLD: Celebrity Endorsements By Minor Niche Celebrities
If we thought a certain product might have an appeal to a certain market—say Timex watches to yacht enthusiasts, it was common to get a well known yachtsperson to endorse said watches. The tie-in to Timex would be tenuous—some tripe about a man who is tough and rugged needing a watch that is tough and rugged—but the expectation—that the readers of Yachting Quarterly would buy the Timex because it was endorsed by their favorite yachtsman was the same. Oftentimes the ad itself would disclose how the yachtsman was given the product for free so that he could test it out himself and report back to other yachtspeople how well it performed.

NEW: “Conversations” with customers online
OLD: “Conversations” with customers on the phone
We called it “customer service” and back in the mid-90s it was quite a buzzword- “customer-centric” “putting the customers first” – these were all huge marketing strategies back then. Everyone (especially Detroit) was going to become rich by focusing their business back where it belonged—on their customers.

NEW: Social Media Sites
OLD: CB Radio
Back in the 1970s the entire country jumped onto the CB convoy. People would talk to strangers over citizen band radio (previously employed solely by truckers) and on-air communities of strangers were formed, where people used “handles” (e.g. on-air nicknames) to identify themselves. There was even an extensive lingo that CBers used. 10-4, Smokey=CB lingo. LOL!

NEW: Web Banners
OLD: Billboards
I’m on my way somewhere and I pass an ad that’s housed in an elongated rectangular unit. If I have time, I may scan it quickly and then continue on with what I’m doing. Nuff said.

NEW: People making parody commercials and posting them on YouTube
OLD: Actors making parody commercials and performing them on Saturday Night Live.
Back in the day, the actors were actually funnier.

NEW: People entering contests to write Super Bowl commercials
OLD: People entering contests to write jingles and ad slogans
It was a fairly popular concept back in the 60s and 70s, especially for packaged goods: write the new jingle for Cruchi-os and win $1,000. There might even have been an episode of I Love Lucy or The Brady Bunch about it.

NEW: Web 2.0 Gurus making lots of money telling clients why ad agencies are on the way out.
OLD: Trout and Ries making lots of money telling clients why ad agencies are on the way out.
Al Trout and Jack Ries had a consulting firm (I believe they’re still in business) whose mantra was that ad agencies were only interested in shooting expensive TV commercials and winning awards and as such could never have their clients best interests at heart. Sound familiar?

I’m sure there are plenty of others- I’ll update this in a few days if I think of any, but please, feel free to add your own.


Anonymous said...

Why WOM is as old as the hills. I just see new media bringing us back to old values (like listening, relationships, customer in control, etc.).

Anonymous said...

New: 'Evolution' -- killing the ad business as we know it.
Old: Creatives coming up with 'evolution' based on the consumer insight that models are completely fake and retouched and who the hell really wants to be like that anyway?

Or as James Carville once said, 'it's the idea, stupid'

Ken Krimstein

Anonymous said...

OLD: traditional ad agencies bleating on about "integration" without realizing that brilliant ideas integrate seamlessly and effortlessly everywhere and crap ones don't go anywhere.

NEW: interactive agencies bleating on about "integration" without realizing that brilliant ideas integrate seamlessly and effortlessly everywhere and crap ones don't go anywhere.

Anonymous said...


This is a subject I have written about many times. Web 2.0 delivered some tools to add to the marketer's toolbox. It did not create any new strategies or story-telling miracles.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that it produces better results, but it is a trend:

New: Groupthink consensus on ideas in agencies.
Old: Lone genius holed-up alone.

New: Blogs.
Old: Websites

As for Web 9.0, it ain’t the car, it’s the driver.