How do you advertise brands created on TV in an Internet age?

If you’ve ever really dealt with big brand  advertising from a media perspective you know it’s hard to advertise low interest brands on the Internet. a lot harder than advertising than on TV.   it’s hard because most of the big consumer brands were forged in the TV medium.  they were probably low interest but very  necessary products.  And  TV gave them the perfect opportunity to carpet bomb consumers’ consciousness and “brand” their brand directly onto the cerebral cortex of the nation.  all it took was money.  easy!

so perhaps not unsurprisingly,  a lot of these brands now find themselves in a bit of a technological pickle.   TV, their ice floe, is melting.  And the Internet — the medium that doesn’t require advertising for its existence thank you very much — doesn’t love them.  Because they’ve never really had to care if people loved them or not.  they just cared about market share.  they cared about themselves.  which was perfectly reasonable.  the system was what it was.  TV facilitated their rise.  TV wasn’t interactive.  and selling things is hard enough without having to factor love and other intangibles into the equation.

these times require a different skill set for both advertisers and agencies.  things have gotten a lot more complicated.  and  these brands suddenly have to reinvent themselves in lots of new ways.   looking back it was so easy:   approve one-sided messaging, ad agency creates it, run it, sit back and practice your golf swing/ tennis serve.

TV was the perfect system for creating big brands in a big country.  It’s still very much with us (the superbowl.  beat that Internet!  snap.) and will be for a very long time.  but its no longer the decisive force it once was in our culture.  and to an extent its worth to advertisers was based on the insanely broad reach it had.  but increasingly no longer has.

Change is good!*

*if by good you really mean a pain in the ass that eventually yields a positive result and is therefore totally worth it.

2 responses to “How do you advertise brands created on TV in an Internet age?

  1. drivenbyjealousy

    hi vinny,
    i’m a first time caller, so go easy on me.
    i’m going to use a sports analogy… i don’t know if you follow tennis, but andy murray is on the crest of becoming a very big brand. the only thing he needs to do is concentrate on the one thing that will build that brand – his tennis. everything else will then follow. i know he’s not an established brand, but i think the principles are the same.

    for us (and our clients), we need to focus on the idea ( of which i think you have talked previously about predictions for ’09). and ideas are media neutral.

    i will cross to another analogy, about an interviewer, whom i don’t know the name of, but they once said the key to interviewing people is to treat famous people as though they aren’t famous, and ordinary people as though they are famous. and i think if big brands talked to me as though they weren’t big (and the internet can do this brilliantly), then i’m more likely to listen and care for the brand.

    but who knows, eh?

  2. thanks for your comment driven by jealousy. love the name btw.

    i know what you’re saying. and i agree. big brands and small brands (are you listening my local hardware store who took two weeks to diagnose my broken snowblower in the middle of a chicago winter?) should treat everyone with respect and take the time to anticipate what my needs and wants might be.

    But how rare is that? and how rare was it in the pre-Internet age? and the answer, alas, is all too rare. i mean theoretically the telephone made it possible for steve jobs to personally thank everyone who bought a mac back in the 80s. didn’t happen though.

    i know a lot of social media, ahem, gurus bang on about things like “brand conversations” and “transparency” in the internet age but i frankly find a lot of that talk to be frankly utopian. based on my experience of humanity thus far.

    A quote that made a big impact on me years ago was by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. and no i’m not a trekkie. he was asked why 95% of TV was crap. and he replied “95% of everything is crap. 95% of plumbers are crap. 95% of waiters are crap. Their work just isn’t broadcast for all to see”.

    which is why great brand experiences, and great ads, are so noteworthy. and rare. 95% are phoned in.

    common sense and common courtesy are as rare as they’ve ever been.

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