June 25, 2008

Maybe Not Cautious Enough

In an article on June 18th called "Brought To You By...Anyone?" The Washington Post chided "big brands" for being slow to adopt digital media in their advertising plans.

"While spending on Internet marketing has been growing dramatically over the past decade, the top 50 or 60 brand marketers are very much underrepresented," said Randall Rothenberg, president and chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau..."
The Post gave a number of reasons for big brands being cautious about online advertising -- the usual nonsense about agencies being conservative...

"...the advertising industry and its workforce are more accustomed to creating and presenting 15-second television spots (huh?) or magazine ads than they are to arranging an online campaign."

Of course, they didn't mention the real reason why anyone with a brain is "cautious" about online advertising -- the alarming ineffectiveness of online display ads.

In contrast to the supposed short-sightedness of the "big brands", the story focused on the progressive thinking of a company called Apollo Group, Inc. which owns the University of Phoenix and is the largest single spender of online advertising dollars. Last year they spent $278 million on online advertising.
"We are, in fact, everywhere," said (Rob) Wrubel, who is chief executive of... the online ad outfit owned by the university's parent company (Apollo Group, Inc.) He compared their spots to "carpet bombing..."
Yeah, well they're bombing all right. Five days later, on June 23rd, I happened to run across this. According to The Financial Times...
Audit Integrity (the "the leading provider of accounting and governance risk analysis on public companies" )...published a list of companies that performed poorly in its rankings of corporate governance... (they) identified University of Phoenix owner Apollo Group, Inc. (as having) “serious questions regarding management’s integrity vis-a-vis their shareholders... the companies may be intentionally deceiving their shareholders to mask serious problems...”

$278 million in online advertising? Somehow I'm not surprised.

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