April 13, 2010

Advertising 2.0's Hip-Rap Hopped


By Chris Kieff, Social & Search Media Evangelist

Warren Beatty's Bulworth, a well-intentioned yet overreaching film about political and social commentary, came to mind as I attended the Advertising 2.0 Conference last week, the well-intentioned yet overreaching new media conference during the first-ever Internet Week, in New York.

It was billed as the "primary" state of the business conference and had a list of well-heeled media big wigs which would rival any Capitol Hill fund-raiser!


Here's a list of the Keynote Roundtable Participants, which set the tone of the event.

Michael Kassan (Entertainment and Media Consultant) Moderator

Laura Lang (CEO of Digitas)
Dave Morris (Chief Client Officer of CNET)
Scott Sorokin (President of Carat)
Keith Fox (President of Businessweek)
Chet Fenster (filling in for Andrew McLean President of Mediaedge:cia)
(Jeff Berman President of Sales and Marketing at MySpace was a no-show)


Before I get started, let me add my 2 cents to what has become the all-too-familiar rant. There was no Wi-Fi. For a conference in Moose Jaw, or Timbuktu, that may be acceptable but this was Manhattan. Maybe asking that participants silence their cell phones is a good idea. But with laptops, PDAs, and iPhones Wi-Fi is essential. Okay, now that I have that off my chest, let me summarize the discussion.

Led by Kassan, the Keynote Roundtable focused on "The Future of Advertising, Media, Entertainment & Technology."

For starters, Michael was clearly unhappy that president of Mediaedge:cia Andrew McLean had pulled out; who replaced himself with Managing Partner, Chet Fenster. One example of this obvious irritation was when Kassan called Fenster "Andrew," to comment and then corrected himself.

As the discussion progressed Kassan did a fine job of steering the conversation and asking a few pertinent questions. The session was dominated however by Fox (Businessweek) and Morris (CNET) with the others primarily taking part only when called upon.


In response to the question, "What do large advertisers ask for now that's different from before?" Fox noted that they used to ask about the marketing, awareness, and competitors (in the same issue) for print advertising. Now large advertisers ask about engagement, proof, guaranteed returns, and demonstration of any claims. And significantly these advertisers complain about more new and notable competitors. They used to have 6 to 10 competitors, now it's more like 20 to 30.

Fox also noted that advertisers are also moving away from strict business objectives and into wooing the consumer. That the consumer is forcing their way into the conversation. And that the conversation is now becoming a dialog as opposed to the monologue of years gone by.

Lang, noted what she feels is the loss of the Brand in the current conversations centering on technology. The brand is being supplanted by conversations on products, technology, analytics and tactics. She also touched upon a subject that has been a familiar theme at this year's industry conferences. Time scales are being compressed across all aspects of an advertising project. This includes agency and client side issues and expectations, both in the pre- and post-run, phases of projects. Clients are expecting agencies to deliver creative more quickly, and to make changes more quickly than in the past. And agencies are expected to monitor and adjust to feedback from ad runs more quickly as well.

Buzzword Bling: For the TLA (Three Letter Acronym) aficionados we have a new acronym. Dave Morris introduced this new acronym for much of the audience; PSA, used to delineate classes of content. Professional Content, Semi-professional Content, and Amateur Content. I guess it hadn't occurred to CNET that Public Service Announcements (PSA's) have been around for a while in other parts of the industry.


It's the economy stupid: A question from the audience on how is the economy is affecting the industry received the following replies:

First: Fox commented that Web 2.0 requires more assets on the agency side for analysis, adaption and more technology. All of which cost more money with no increase in fees to fund the added costs.

Second: Sorokin of Carat noted that client staff cutbacks are creating more pressure on agencies as clients pass more tasks on to agencies.

Third: Morris of CNET, says the economy sucks except for some sectors like, retail (Best Buy and Costco but not Sears), technology, and gaming are doing great.

Fourth: Lang of Digitas, views the economy as an opportunity and challenge for agencies to reorganize for the new age. She views the opportunities as increasing as the economy forces clients and agencies to realign for the web 2.0 world.


The $100,000 question, can the industry successfully self regulate data privacy issues?

Morris of CNET, replied that millennial (14 to 24 year olds) have much lower expectations of data privacy than older groups. His reply seemed to imply that CNET and their new parent are not concerned with data privacy because of this trend. Several of the marketers in the audience were somewhat surprised at this apparent dismissal of the privacy concerns of the over 25 year-old set.

No one denies there is clearly a cultural, technological and financial generational-divide between under-versus-over 25's. Privacy deserves a conference all to itself and is seldom mentioned at all in new media events. As well intentioned as the Advertising 2.0's producers and otherwise distinguished panelists were, they were only able to focus on this - and many other subjects - as briefly as Senator Bull-@#$%... er, Senator Bulworth spent time on important issues during his time away from his otherwise distinguished office.


Chris Kieff is an interactive media consultant with a specialty in Search and social media marketing. He provides counsel and guidance to a number of corporations and agencies to help them define their SEO, SEM, web and social marketing strategies. Before founding his own consultancy, Mr. Kieff was in sales and marketing with Motorola, NEC and Controlware Communications. He began his marketing career after serving in the US Navy's Submarine Service. You can learn more about Chris by visiting his blog, www.1GoodReason.com or contact him directly at chris@1goodreason.com.


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