Have we lost sight of creativity in advertising?


As practitioners of a creative craft, what are we trying to accomplish?

As practitioners of a creative craft, what are we trying to accomplish?

Is the constant drumbeat from ad technology firms overshadowing the importance of creativity?

For those of us left in the advertising business, it seems that every message we receive has something to do with ad technology and its unlimited possibilities for making advertising more effective.

We, as agency creatives (if that is still even a relevant term), are overwhelmed with digital platforms. From programmatic media buying, to optimization, to first and third person data, it appears that ad technology has become the means to the end.

As practitioners of a creative craft, what are we trying to accomplish? Once, our primary job was to inform and entice people to purchase our client’s products and services. This usually required the talents of humans that could string together words, pictures, thoughts and emotions into a memorable experience executed across different mediums.

To accomplish this, a deep understanding of human psychology, communication and interaction was required, intertwined with a point of view. The message could be perceived as funny, clever, sarcastic, and informative, a hard sell, or any one of hundreds of different tones and styles of human communication.

Ad technology is nothing more than a delivery mechanism

Ad technology providers would lead you to believe that the message is secondary to the channel from which it is delivered.

With all the streaming bits and bytes of data swirling around our sensory receptors, it is no wonder that the “human” part of us has learned in a relatively short time to tune out internet advertising.

The reason for this is that the message has been compromised by the delivery mechanism.

The religion of ad technology practiced by the providers of ad networks, mobile apps, and behavioral retargeting wants us to believe that the scripture of analytics trumps creativity and with enough retargeting, our resistance will ebb and we will succumb to the purchase of a product we don’t want or need.

The reality is that we have already learned to block out such annoyances that appear on our screens as we read the opinion page of the New York Times or catch up the on final quarter of the game we slept through last night.

John Wanamaker in 1898 was correct that half of the money spent on advertising is wasted. The trouble is knowing which half. I’d make the case that this still holds true today, considering half of digital advertising cascading across the internet is never seen by a human being.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Do your customers suffer from “E-fluenza”?

The Precarious State of Advertising & Marketing

Why bother with branding?

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.
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Why internet advertising matters to aviation marketing

IAB internet advertising report 2011

The line between digital and traditional advertising has disappeared.

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) released its annual report conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP on interactive advertising.  The results are considered to be the most accurate measurement of internet/online/mobile advertising. Here are some of their key findings along with my insights for aviation marketers.

In 2011 internet advertising revenue in the United States totaled $31.7 billion surpassing cable television, confirming interactive advertising as a valid media outlet only second to broadcast television.

Digital ad formats – search and display – continue as category leaders with mobile emerging as a relevant category.

  • Search accounted for $14.8 billion or 47% of advertising revenue
  • Display and banner ads accounted for $11.1 billion or 38% of advertising revenue
  • Mobile advertising emerged with $1.6 billion or 5% of advertising revenues

With interactive advertising displaying robust growth, aviation marketers should no longer look at web-based advertising as an experiment. Leading aviation marketers are allocating a larger share of media dollars towards interactive advertising supported with the necessary resources for producing web content.

Interactive advertising craves a steady diet of new content.

When interactive advertising fails to produce the desired results, one should review the content at the other side of the click through. Delivering stale content, hard-to-navigate landing pages or content not formatted for mobile devices kills any hope of turning an interest into a conversation. Successful interactive advertising delivers content that is relevant, and encourages the viewer to take the next step to find out more or receive something from the advertisers for the time invested.

Target audiences and interactive advertising

Aviation companies that operate in the retail environment – airlines, charter services, fractional sharing, flight schools – are receiving the benefits of interactive by having their ads appear to viewers that have shown an interest in these categories. This is achieved through advertising networks that target ads to viewers through data collection.

Aviation component and system manufacturers have been slow to adopt interactive advertising because of the belief that their target audience and decision influencers spend little time surfing the web and interacting with social media sites.

However the $14.8 billion spent in the United States on search seems to contradict this belief. When projected globally, just consider Google’s 2011 global advertising revenue of $36,531 billion.

Clearly, customers and prospects turn to the web first when determining suitable solutions and new suppliers for their needs.  The financial facts alone should serve as a testimonial to the relevance of interactive advertising.

To view the complete IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report click on the following link: http://bit.ly/NJjZvG