May 15, 2009

Looking For Volunteers

Advertising is a minor annoyance, at best.

Traditional advertising causes forced exposure – if you’re going to watch Monday Night Football you have to see my beer spot whether you want to or not.

Web advertisers have tried the forced exposure model (banners and display ads) with very limited success.

Because forced exposure on the web has not been terribly successful, the advertising community is trying to convince itself that the answer is social media. But there's a big problem. Social media is not like traditional advertising. Consumers have to volunteer for it.

The idea that people will voluntarily "interact with your brand", or can be tricked, coaxed, or charmed into interacting with it, is a highly suspect proposition for most brands.

Unless you compete in a very high interest category (sports, wine, entertainment) the probability that large numbers of consumers have the time or inclination to interact with your brand is close to zilch.

It is a fantasy propagated by naivete, ideology, and wishful thinking.

TAC predicts that when the frenzy over Facebook, Twitter, and other social media calms down and the dust clears, email and search will continue to be the dreariest and most productive forms of online advertising.

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