Jan 3, 2008

It's Not Brain Surgery, Though It Might As Well Be


One thing that continues to amaze me is how difficult it is for many people in the business to actually understand how the interwebs work as an advertising vehicle.

I mean the most basic of all interweb ad concepts-- that people need a reason to come to your site-- is seemingly lost on many of my colleagues, who seem to think that like TV, putting something online guarantees viewership and that any video posted to YouTube automatically becomes "viral."

But back to the first point.

I can't tell you how many conversations I've had over the years where I find myself saying some variation of "But why would they go there? How would they know the site existed?" only to be met by blank stares or a comment to the effect of "because it's on the internet."

And no, the usual suggestion of placing the url at the bottom of the print ad or end of the TV spot (without any indication of what you'll find when you get there) is not a valid option.

Especially not in 2008.

14 comments:

noah brier said...

So glad to know I'm not the only one who has faced the "how will they get there" blank stare . . .

daily biz said...

I agree. For some reason, just because it goes on the internet people seem to forget that there has to be a reason for people to go to the site or view the video. They forget that there needs to be awareness that it is there. They forget that it must be strategic and on-brand.

They forget everything they (should) know because they are dazzled by the "new" technology.

Drives me up a wall.

Toad said...

Yup and yup.

I find some of the most egregious examples of this happen when someone asks for a digital interpretation of advertising a client is running around a general interest event they are sponsoring (e.g. tennis tournament, concert, movie premiere)

And yet so few people seem able to wrap their heads around the fact that the only reason someone would deign to go online would be to learn something more about the tennis tournament or the players in the tennis tournament-- they're not going online to see some advertising for the company sponsoring the tournament no matter how clever that advertising may be.

Come the revolution...

Make the logo bigger said...

Damn, I ran into the “If you launch it, they will come” stare just last week.

toad's sixth reader said...

oh god! you've hit my rawest nerve with that one. the internet has popularized this simple-minded notion that the attention of the masses is now free. you just put something online innit. the internet is a crap medium for advertising. there, i've said it.

fatc said...

Well, doing something, anything, online is the "check box" du jour, isn't it?

Add to that the fact that there are far too many in our respective agencies (and on the client side) whose responsibilities require that they merely TALK about websites all day. (Or TV or radio, or any other kind of ad venture, for that matter.) The more they merely talk, the more buzzwords they spew, the more "productive" they appear, of course. And assuming no one with any pull ever calls them on this, they'll never stop. Nothing new there.

So only when a creative person is saddled with actually CREATING something useful does anyone even begin to consider if the proposed "online thingy" even has a reason for being; or if the web is even the right tool for the job (Assuming there's a clear objective. And that you can state it in a single sentence using plain english). :-)

But by then its too late. To bring up any critical thinking now would just be seen as laziness, or worse, the perception that you don't "get" online advertising.

Nothing left to do but appeal to the higher-ups for help. I'm sure as soon as they're done trying to get some more fake outdoor boards into Cannes, they'll get right on it.

Toad said...

Hey FATC - welcome back - I was just thinking about you the other day, that I hadn't heard from you in a while and was hoping all was well. Glad to see that it (seemingly) is.

TT

fatc said...

Thanks TT. Hope you had happy holidays with the Mrs. and tadpoles. It's good to be back, and yes, all is well. I was flying under the radar during most of December (like a lot of us, I'd imagine) then had a wonderful holiday break doing absolutely nothing. (The productive, peaceful kind of doing nothing. Not to be confused with the unproductive BDA kind of doing nothing.)

Cheers to all. My new motto: Life's great in '08.

(LEGAL COPY: Any connection between fatc's new motto and the fact that he'll soon be able to leave his current place of employ without having to pay back any moving expenses are purely coincidental.)

fatc said...

Oops.
Should be "...IS purely..."
Life's still great in '08, though.

the lower depths said...

it's the new holy grail (like in Monty Python, not the other kind)...the belief is rampant that people will NOT go to things they like but to things that they couldn't care less about, like your brand history or where your threads for the pillow cases come from and they will fly there as soon as they're home or while at work...

boggles the mind, but if you look at numbers, which they all should be checking, more time is spent on blog sites and porn than ANYTHING else... that's probably the reason most client sites don't put counters on their pages, the visits are frighteningly few compared to the expectations ...

i have not yet heard a solid answer from any client or planner on that "what would make anyone go there / how will they know?" query ... makes me lose my faith in humanities chances for survival...

Toad said...

@LD: Yup. I sometimes think many of these people (and they range from clients to more TV-oriented creatives) think that the internet somehow works like TV, that I'll somehow be flipping around the internet and come upon the AcmeCo channel-- er, website, and start watching. Search ain't sexy, but it's how a lot of people find these corporate/product sites.

kmf said...

Please please please stop using the term "interwebs". It's just so...well...dumb.

Make the logo bigger said...

“...like your brand history or where your threads for the pillow cases come from and they will fly there as soon as they're home or while at work...”

Omg, another omg moment. THAT notion is also still alive and well. That since brands have 'websites' they can now put up every bit of information they ever wrote about their product, because, well, you never run out of space on the internet!

Unfortunately, this is the same mindset they carry over from TV/print ads, that if they simply tell the customer everything that this will somehow convert them to a paying customer. Yikes.

I need a drink.

the lower depths said...

@mtlb: gone way past the OMG moment into the shoot me now please moment.

one of the wireheads at my agency and i were talking about the truth of web counters (why no one puts one on their site and such) and he informed me that, utilizing collision detection, an old gaming code set, clients and strategists are counting every time you roll your mouse over a webvertisement as a hit as well as every time you shut the window down to get rid of it as a hit.

these are the people feeding you your "facts" about the power of banners, etc. that's the kind of crap that makes me more and more dubious of the claimed successes of achievements on this media path. as popgoestheweasel says (many times) on george's blog: it's really way past time for another drink....