Everything you knew about advertising is BS – Before Story
Kirk Cheyfitz, CEO
The Post-Advertising Age
Story Worldwide understands that advertising-as-interruption is over. We connect brands to customers by telling engaging and entertaining stories that audiences actually want to hear. Imagine that!
Our story is just getting started. We’re the first global content marketing agency, with offices in North America, Europe and Asia. And who knows – maybe your brand will become the next chapter in our story.
Marketing has entered the post-advertising age. The new age’s defining feature is this: The only messages anyone will see and hear are the messages they choose to see and hear.
Nearly everyone in marketing understands this at some level. But as any good shrink will tell you, between intellectual understanding and emotional acceptance lies a great gulf. Some are living in that gap at the moment as defenders of the status quo—you know who you are—and are trying to fend off the future as long as they can. They won’t last long, but they may last long enough to waste lots of money.
Here in the gulf between understanding and action, everyone talks about the “death of the 30-second spot.” But agencies are still pouring some $300 billion a year worldwide into those corpses. This makes traditional ads the most relentless and ubiquitous zombies since the 1968 premiere of George Romero’s epochal Night of the Living Dead. (Or Sam Raimi’s equally epochal and far more successful 1981 film Evil Dead.)
Ad agencies are stuck to traditional advertising for a good reason: They make the bulk of their money from producing traditional TV ads. Never underestimate the ability of people to deny the truth if the truth will negatively impact their take-home pay.
The big agencies are even trying to put TV ads on the web. I was trapped recently by a Prilosec 30-second TV spot running on Yahoo! It was placed there as an unavoidable penance that had to be endured before the site would let me see a news video. Folks: Just in case anyone was wondering, this is not an endearing or effective move. It gave me heartburn, for which I now have nowhere to turn. Thanks a lot, Prilosec.
Marshall McLuhan famously wrote in Understanding Media in 1964: “The medium is the message.” Those who put bad TV commercials (or good ones, for that matter) on the web are hoping that it will resurrect the corpse of the 30-second spot and make it relevant again. They apparently hope the relevance of the medium, somehow, will overcome the irrelevance of the message.
This, of course, is magical thinking. These days, the message is the message. The medium is just the carrier.
I could understand a Prilosec ad being served to me if I was searching for “acid indigestion” or anything that made it likely that I need Prilosec. But to play it to me because I clicked on a news item about Iraq is just silly. (Unless, of course, one of AstraZeneca’s agencies has undisclosed research that news from Iraq exacerbates esophogeal reflux disease.)
We’re now in an opt-in culture. The only way to get (positive) attention is to create great media—desired content that is relevant, informing, entertaining and on-brand. Having a brand interrupt a narrative won’t work anymore, whether that narrative is a TV show or a website. The intruding message will be TiVo-ed out of existence, clicked away from, put in the junk folder and ignored. Intrusion is a totally dead model.
Welcome to the post-advertising age.