January 06, 2011

Groundhog Day At The 4A's

Stop the presses!

The 4A's is having a conference. And it's about "transformation." Yeah, that's right, in case you hadn't heard, digital is changing everything! Oh my god! Why didn't anyone tell me?

From an email I recently received promoting this conference:
"...The marketing landscape has changed, permanently and irrevocably. The consumers are in control. Digital means everything. The mood has evolved from disruption to partnership..."
They've managed to cram every muddle-headed new-age marketing cliche into four short sentences. A truly commendable performance.

We have come to expect hyperbole and bullshit from brand babblers, web hustlers, and other marketing and advertising phonies. But an industry organization like the 4A's is expected to to be a little more sober and sensible in its pronouncements. They are not expected to exploit the kind of trendy nonsense that pervades the trade press and ad agency new business pitches.

Just in case anyone at the 4A's is interested in some facts about advertising -- so the next time you send out an email you don't sound like a freshman online copywriter at a start-up in Williamsburg -- here are some facts:
  • Online advertising is projected to be 9% of total advertising* in 2011. Which means 91% of advertising is not digital. (The way it works is this -- you subtract 9 from 100 and you get 91. See, math is fun!)
  • Of the 9% that is digital, almost half of it is search. Which means it isn't really advertising. It's a listing or something.
  • Some things that have not changed "permanently and irrevocably"...
  • TV is still by far the most viewed, trusted, and effective advertising medium. 
  • "Interactivity" with online ads has dropped like a rock -- 97.5% since the mid-90's.
  • Only 2% of all video is viewed on a computer
From Bloomberg News, Nov. 27...
"TV viewing is at an all-time high," (said) Philippe Dauman, chief executive officer of Viacom.."
The average American viewer watched two more hours of TV per month in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the same period last year. 
So, on balance, I think I'll just skip this conference.

Is It Just Me...
...or has the 4A's been holding the same freaking conference over and over again for the last 10 years?

*This figure may be out of date as a more recent projection from another source puts it at 13% globally and 17% in US.

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