I never attended college. I was enrolled and I graduated, but I never actually attended.
My college had the unfortunate habit of scheduling classes at inconvenient times when horses were running, pool rooms were operating, and the occasional hippie chick required horizontal therapy.
I majored in political science because they had no attendance requirements. A very fortunate circumstance for someone as busy as I was.
Every now and then I was required to attend a class to hand in a paper, or a form, or prove I was alive.
I remember one particular instance of attending a class in which the lecturer said something memorable. This guy, by the way, was young and charming and made his way through the poli sci co-ed community faster than Vladimir Putin through Crimea.
Anyway, apropos of Putin, on one particular day this guy made the comment that at the time of the Russian revolution Lenin's boys only had the support of about 5% of the populace. The reason they successfully seized control of the country was that they were far better organized than any other group.
He gave us a general rule of politics: In times of chaos, victory goes to the best organized.
Which brings to mind the current situation in the advertising industry.
It is pretty clear that despite the well-documented failings of online advertising, it has seized control of the advertising business. I went to Adweek's front page today and found that of the 5 stories listed as "most popular," 4 1/2 were about online advertising.
This is not unusual. While Internet advertising constitutes less than 5% of total global ad spend (I think it's about 15% in the U.S.) its advocates are the Leninists of marketing. They are true believers, they are well-organized, they are determined, they have a narrative, and their competitors in the broadcast and print industries are too cowardly to fight.
The TV and radio industry are too busy battling each other over ad budgets to challenge the online industry. The typical TV sales person is actively trying to drum up business by telling agencies and clients how screwed up the other TV guys are.
In addition, every broadcast and print entity now has its own online component. So they are afraid to stand up to online media because they might undermine the people they have on the street trying to sell their online inventory.
Meanwhile online advertising is a disaster. As I reported a few days ago...
- 62% of web traffic is reportedly phony
- 54% of display ads paid for reportedly never ran
- 57% of video ads paid for are apparently never seen
- Fraud and corruption are massive and reportedly in the billions
- Interaction with display advertising is essentially non-existent (1 in a thousand)
- As much as half of all video viewed on line may be porn
- Regardless of what media buyers say, nobody knows where their online ads run
Broadcast and print are pathetically unprepared for this fight. They haven't learned that if they don't tell their story, no one else will.
Sadly, all the hippie chicks are gone. But the Leninists are still winning.