Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Goodbye TV ads, hello Internet ads

TV advertising sucks.

It costs a small fortune to make even a half-decent TV advertisement and even when you do come up with a gem, it soon goes stale after repeated screenings, leaving your audience resentful that you (and your product/service) are interrupting their favourite programmes with your message.

Internet advertising sucks too.

People browsing their favourite website don't want nasty flashing, distracting animated banners, pop-up windows or Flash applets all vying for their attention.

But guess what?

Internet advertising is about to get a whole lot more interesting and TV advertising may soon be so worthless they won't be able to give it away.

A new generation of advertising specialist appears to be surfacing to take advantage of these trends.

These aren't the pony-tailed, latte'-sculling, bran-muffin eaters who have for so long controlled the ad-spend of small and large companies alike. No, these are a bunch of Net-savvy viral marketers who have the potential to offer customers a whole lot more bang for their buck.

Already there are companies appearing who will advise you how to best use new social-media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your product - but I suspect most of them are like the "web-consultants" of old. They really deliver little more than commonsense advice, while charging a fortune for the privilege.

The really good guys are out there coming up with viral marketing strategies that see internet users seeking out their messages and willingly referring them to others in a way that no other medium except the internet can allow.

Some existing TV ads have already gone viral in an almost accidental way, take this Air NZ safety video (YouTube) for example.

With over 3.5 million views, this single video has probably been seen by more people than any of its domestically screened TV ads have been.

And the cost?

Well given that the production costs were already paid before it was put on the internet, this video represents hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advertising -- for free.

Of course the secret to having a successful viral advertisement that people will actually seek out and watch voluntarily is something that the "experts" will sell you for a fee. However, based on the "bang per buck-spent", it really does look as if viral internet advertising, via YouTube, Twitter or whatever, is the most cost-effective way to promote yourself, your product or
your services right now.

With advancing technology and increasing alternative sources for electronic entertainment, the TV ad might just have had its day and be about to fall from its decades-old position as the "best" advertising medium.

Once again, the internet has shown itself to be a great playing-field leveler. This time it's letting the Net-savvy advertiser reach a huge audience for a fraction the cost it would take to do the same thing using traditional mainstream media methods.

Hooray for the Net!

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