Tag Archives: the internet

The Internet today

An hilarious visual analysis of the Internet as it stands today.

Every “digital ninja” and new media chancer should have this literally shoved down their throat.

Online analysis is clearly best left to those with a sense of humor.


We quite like this

a brilliant banner ad for Pringles potato slivers. You can see it here.

[UPDATE: via @kentcarmicheal. this was created by BRIDGE WORLDWIDE from Cincinnati (home of @cheronis and a great city). well done guys. you are now eligible for an Escape Pod Bottleofscotchy award!]

The Internet doesn’t like advertising

I suffer from having seen advertising at its most potent. the end of the golden age of TV advertising. When TV ruled the land and tens of millions of people reliably and punctually plopped their asses on the couch to watch whatever Hollywood deemed appropriate. And advertising was an inextricable part of the whole deal. the ads paid for the shows that entertained you. advertising was a necessary part of the system.

The Internet poked a big whole in the TV world. TV networks sold the attention of the viewers to advertisers. But nobody owns the Internet. And therein lies the problem. Nobody owns it so nobody can sell it. It’s literally anarchy compared to TV’s dictatorship. And as online consumes more and more of people’s attention, the need for the Internet to be “solved” for marketers grows more urgent. Of course Google cracked a huge piece of that puzzle. By recognizing that interruptive advertising doesn’t really belong on the Internet. But helpful and timely suggestions whispered sotto voce might not be despised by users.

It’s the Foghorn Leghorn tone-deaf tactics of advertisers and agencies that get us into trouble. Old habits die hard etc. But the real problem for advertisers, and it’s one that won’t go away just because it’s becoming more difficult, is that the opportunity to excite people about brands – which TV could do like no other medium – is shrinking. Of course video is still the shortest route to people’s hearts. But getting people to watch it is the key (that’s what the tv networks really did for us)

I think that this is the essence of what Crispin Porter Bogusky does really well – achieving the effect of TV advertising by using all the tools currently available to us, including TV advertising. It’s the “do whatever it takes, try anything” approach. It acknowledges our lack of control of the media. But it doesn’t wimp out just because nobody likes advertising. nobody ever liked advertising. that’s always been the biggest hurdle we have to overcome. and always will be.


I can remember when i was the generation that was supposed to be immune to advertising.

i love the recurring notion that any particular generation will “the one” that’s immune to advertising. yet it’s a myth that will not die. I can remember when i was the generation that was too savvy to fall for advertising’s tricks and gimmicks. And look what happened to me!

And now the “Internet generation” has been anointed as the ones who will finally put all of us in the ad game out of business. Apparently they shall grow up devoid of insecurities and will live in some sort of egalitarian Maoist consumer paradise where all purchases are made with ice-cold rationality. No room in their lives then for attending promises of betterment and cooler stuff. Not on your life! Contentment shall come from within.


Twitter not a huge money maker shock!

Just learned, via twitter ironically (Hugh McLeod specifically),  that twitter isn’t making money.  Neither is Digg or Facebook.  And i think I know why.  Well I’m going to hazard a not too-deeply-researched guess why.  I’m an advertising creative, research is, like, a pain dude.

As long as the Internet (the “i” is capitalized you know) has been around and thriving, the cry of the overfunded startup has been ‘Oh, relax, the money will eventually come from advertising!”.  Really?   And what form will this advertising take?   Google ads or something.   Banner ads!  Yeah.  That’s it.

If only these would-be vendors of advertising had bothered to ask adfolks like us what we thought about the advertising opportunities they proposed to sell to – presumably – adfolks like us.  Because if they did, they might realize that what they’re selling just isn’t that exciting.   Sotto voce text whispers do not an exciting experience make.  And advertising, to be successful, has to get people excited in some manner.  It has to be motivating. It has to be exciting.

I’m not qualified to get into the mathematics of online advertising.  But I really think that the online advertising game has been won.  And Google won it.  If i want to reach (note i say “reach” not “excite”) people i’m giving Google a call.

There will doubtless be great uses of Facebook (whopper sacrifice) and Twitter eventually i’m sure.  But to hear the chatter about these alleged hot advertising properties reminds me of this scenario.

You walk into the foyer of the a grand French hotel.  It looks beautiful.  you’re paying a fortune to stay there.  the manager greets you effusively.  “Welcome to the Hotel Royale!”   He then informs you that you will be sleeping on the window ledge on the fifth floor.   You are understandably underwhelmed. He is perplexed. Is this not the most beautiful hotel in all of France???

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.

The Internet: great for advertising Irish bagpipes!


There seems to be an assumption among many in the ad community that somehow all the money currently being spent on TV ads will somehow effortlessly migrate to “online” eventually. And that our industry will just all morph into Crispins, Porters, and Boguskies eventually. But why should that be?

it’s forgetting that the business of creating advertising ideas exists as a by-product of something much more important: gathering a mass audience. Nobody wants to spend millions of dollars on TV advertising. Never did. They did so because the opportunity to talk to a huge chunk of the population at one time was simply irresistible to mass marketers. How could they not do it?

The internet is a completely different proposition. Unlike all previous mass media it does not have a symbiotic relationship with advertising.

But increasingly it does allow mass marketers to access a mass audience. Thank you Google. And that’s something mass marketers need. But think about the real estate the internet offers you.

You want to be front and center? Sorry. You’ve been moved to the periphery. Something that’s seen out of the corner of the eye. Maybe. You want the ability to tell your story? Hmmm…That’s going to be tough. A lot tougher than it used to be on TV. It’s still doable. But it requires A LOT more effort than it did in the past.

The internet was a boon for the sole trader. The guy who handcrafts Irish bagpipes. For him it’s been a great leveller. For mass marketers too it has been a great leveller. Only, that’s the last thing they wanted or needed. I remember ten years ago hearing the horror film director George A. Romero compare the internet to the $2 betting window at the horse racing track. He was right. That’s what it is.

So what’s the answer? There isn’t an answer anymore. There are lots of answers. Things have gotten immeasurably complicated. Deal with it. But don’t delude yourself that there’s an easy answer. Or that somehow, someone will figure it all out for you. They won’t. We all have to put on our thinking caps, unfortunately.

It makes us laugh here at The Escape Pod when we hear people, especially purported new media gurus, crowing about how the internet is the best thing to happen to advertising.

Yeah, if you’re advertising Irish bagpipes it is.

Seth Godin, please stop ripping off our blog!

It’s exciting really. (And no, we don’t really think The Great Domed One reads this blog, much less rips it off. we’re not that delusional) But, in his latest post on his blog, Seth (as we’d like to call him) makes the point that nobody owns the internet and that it doesn’t depend on advertising for its existence. So consequently, marketers can’t just bend it to their will. A point we made on this very blog just months ago. It was one of our first posts.

Good to know we’re not alone in our thinking. Great minds think alike etc.

You know what this means, don’t you? It means our blog is just as good as Seth’s, if not better, and that his readership should all just migrate here en masse.

the internet. it’s not ad supported you know.

one of the biggest mistakes ad agencies make when creating online thingies is that they treat the internet like it’s dependent on advertising for its existence.   like all the other media we deal with.  TV, magazines, etc.

 and it’s not. it doesn’t need us at all.  sure the medium itself has been exploited for advertising purposes (google) but that doesn’t mean they need us.  the most effective ad model is barely-there text ads that might actually be relevant to the reader.  sotto voce text ads are just a faint whisper in traditional advertising terms.  they are an acknowledgment that advertising DOESN’T REALLY BELONG there.  and that’s what really works on the web.  based on the success of google that is.

contrast that then with the traditional media posture:  shouting at people because we know we pretty much have their attention because we paid for it.  those were the days!

so i’m always a bit mystified when i hear advertising people crowing about how the internet is the best thing that ever happened to advertising.  Perhaps it’s the adman’s innate optimism, but the internet is very clearly isn’t the best thing to happen to advertising. they forget that we have existed purely to take advantage of an audience that is handed to us on a plate by the media owners.  and are therefore ill-equipped to suddenly start earning our audience.  that muscle is not well-developed.  and couldn’t be.

 (full disclosure:  advertising earning its audience is one of the escape pod’s pet obsessions. so excuse me if i somehow wrap up every post with it ;-)