The growth of technology has dramatically changed the way in which marketers deliver their message to our homes. The development of the internet and interactive television has meant that TV commercials and print media are no longer the only main methods of advertising.
This has led to the development and consideration of a number of new advertising techniques which perhaps are more suited to modern society. Keeping up to date is important to advertising agencies as it is their job to find the best way to expose the public to brands. This essay will look at whether the new marketing channels available will lead to the demise of TV commercials.
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Bob Jeffrey, president of J.Walter Thompson has declared that conventional TV advertising is obsolete. He is followed by many others in the opinion that the future of advertising lies in the convergence of TV and computer. This will form a multifaced, interactive medium wherein old fashioned sales pitches simply won’t work. Therefore the future of television will become increasingly in the hands of the viewer, allowing them to chose programme schedules and cut out adverts.
Nike has taken the first steps towards this merged television and internet approach. They created an advert in which a man is being chased, halfway through the chase the advert stops and prompts the viewer to look at the web site for a choice of endings. Television networks feared that the advert would be so successful that viewers would actually leave the programme they are watching to visit the site. This caused many networks to refuse to screen it which in fact hints at the potential for success in this style.
Nike is not the only company to use the internet as a way of advertising. Increasingly more television adverts are followed by the companies web address. The theory behind this is that a television advert is a window to look into, whereas a web site allows you through the door. What this says is that the audience can not interact with the TV adverts but the web allows people access to a variety of menus, email the company, and receive specific information.
In agreement to this Bob Herbold of Microsoft has stated that in the future “you will see more brands do good things for people in terms of providing a service as opposed to running a traditional message that pounds the attributes of the brand”. This is reinforced by the fact that advertisers have spent $4 billion on internet adverts and the figure is expected to rise to $30 billion by 2004. Even television adverts oldest characters have moved digital, for example, doughboy.com (Pillsbury doughboy)
Ogilvy and Mather’s have identified other areas apart from the internet which they feel have an important role to play in the future of advertising. If television adverts do decrease in the success they feel product placement will become its replacement. The idea is that the old-style subtle product placing is replaced with brands playing an integral role in storylines. This way the adverts are included in the actual programme. This is beginning to happen today in sports events, major American Football matches for example have the logo of companies such as Visa beamed onto the pitch so that only the television viewer can see.
The way in which we an exposed to adverts is changing rapidly and more doors to our lives are opening for the advertising companies. Ogilvy and Mather’s strategy for their future has been termed ’360 degree branding’. This means that they believe adverts should shadow us everywhere we go. The internet company Double Click have tried to take this too far already. They have recently been banned for planting bugs in computers through the internet which traced every site we accessed, given them clues to our interests, and daily patterns. These patterns would then be sold to agencies and used to flood our sites with adverts.
To achieve greater value for money, today’s marketers use far more targeting than before. Since the invention of sky and digital TV, the number of stations has boomed making it increasingly harder for adverts to reach their target audience. During this time the amount and variety of magazines have dropped. Therefore the modern approach is to advertise in trade magazines and other such specific media. This reduces the size of the funnel to the consumer, reaching a more specific than a broad audience.
Perhaps the biggest and most uncontrollable fear to TV advertising is the viewer. The average 35-year-old viewer will have seen 150,000 different commercials and therefore is in fact no newcomer to the world of advertising. As people have been bombarded with slogans and commercials, their tastes have developed, making them ‘advert literate’.
The problem here is that attracting the attention of the modern TV viewer has become much harder. This demands for the quality of modern adverts to increase. In the ’70s adverts made their point far slower than today and it appears that its time for a change again. Unfortunately for the advertiser, there is no equipment which can be bought to change the viewer, the issue is something that they have created for themselves and threatens the nature of their business.
Not all people agree that the days of TV advertising are over. Esther Dyson of EDventure Holdings does not believe that we will ever see the end of mass-market commercials. If you look at the television today many of the adverts on display cost vast amounts of money to produce and remain highly successful. Therefore major companies are not showing any signs of stopping to advertise on television.
It is believed by many that adverts should have been obsolete years ago with the invention of the TV remote if their way no demand for them. However, the fact that most people do not flick through channels during adverts shows that they can be thoroughly enjoyed and part of viewing. In America for example the price of 30-second slots during Superbowl is around $2 million and companies will pay this price as their advert could be viewed by an extremely high percentage of the country. It is common for people to even look forward to the adverts during Superbowl due to their high levels of creativity.
One of the biggest criticisms of the internet as a successful medium for advertising in the future is its lack of scope for creativity. Currently, the most common form of advertising on the internet is banners. These are dull, unimaginative and fail to catch the eyes of the audience in the way a commercial does. For this reason, many of the top creative advertisers have shunned the net for TV, leaving the internet to be referred to as a ‘ghetto’ of adverts.
Looking to the future, it is obvious that the nature of advertising will evolve with technology and the techniques used will slowly differ from those of today. The fact that ITV’s viewing figures show a decline of 26% in January 2002 from January 2001, shows that society is changing. There may be other factors which contribute to the audience decline, but it is widely accepted that the role of modern technology (such as DVD’s and the internet) is affecting the amount of exposure to TV. To say that our lives have changed to the extent that TV is not the best way to communicate to a large audience is not true, however other forms of advertising are proving successful.
The future lies in the hands of advertising companies and is difficult to predict. One successful creative idea could lead to a domino effect and threaten to advertise as we know it. However, television advertising has played an important role in marketing communications for decades without much change. The internet may threaten TV in the long term future but for the short term, TV remains the super salesman.
Advertising today, Berger. W, Phaidon Press Ltd 2001
BBC News, January 12th 2002
The end of advertising as we know it? Winston Fletcher, Admap, Jan 1996
Kotler on marketing-How to create win and dominate markets, 1999
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