Technology and lifestyle trends are working together to change advertising. They are making significant alterations to how marketing communications are developed and delivered. Advertising is not static; it will constantly evolve to remain effective.
Television Is Not Dead
If you took a poll a few years back, many people might have suggested that television advertising was a dying medium. If you asked anyone who took into account the fact that there wouldn’t be television stations (as we know them) without paid advertisements, they would have had a different opinion. Yes DVRs make it possible to skip commercials. Consider that in the not-so-far-off future, television will likely be streamed via the internet and we can identify opportunities. Look at the current industry leader in online television in the Tampa market, www.hulu.com. They have been experimenting with making advertising acceptable to online viewers for some time. Here are some of their ideas:
- Asking viewers if the ad they watched is relevant to them. Not only is this valuable targeting information for the future; it tells you whether your ads are being watched by the right audience in the present. Less advertising that goes only to your target audience is arguably more effective than casting a wide–and expensive–net by buying air time on multiple stations during multiple commercial breaks.
- Letting viewers choose advertising they prefer. Hulu sometimes lets a user choose between specific ads (again targeting) or between watching one long ad or several short ones. Increasing autonomy likely increases engagement–not a bad idea.
- Polling as opposed to promoting. Sometimes Hulu offers up surveys and not commercials. It isn’t hard to figure out who is behind the survey. For instance one was entirely about smart phone purchases and interests and was easily associated with the Android sponsorship of the Hulu platform. This might not be traditional advertising, but it definitely lets a sponsor address the “Product” and “Place” aspects of the marketing mix.
Sneak It In
Outside of advertising via commercials, product placement is certainly here to stay. Whether it involves physically putting a product in front of the camera or in a character’s hand or merely mentioning it, product placement is gaining popularity. Even Zappos CEO and friend of AMA Tampa Bay Tony Hsieh seems to be coming around. Despite Zappos’ lack of involvement in many traditional forms of advertising, any fan of NBC’s “30 Rock” might have noticed that they paid for their name to be mentioned during the show–when consumers are certain to be actively engaged–in a recent episode. While some brands have been doing this since the ‘80’s, it seems to be growing in popularity with both advertisers and TV networks. There is currently no way for a consumer to avoid being advertised to if the ad is included in something they want to watch. The more seamless the product placemen,t the more effective it is likely to be.
While the future is still a bit uncertain, it appears as if television advertising will be alive and well for some time.