This Ad Is for You

There’s an interesting piece in today’s NTY Business section on how cable companies (both carriers and networks) are working to roll-out technology to customize ads…

The Weather Channel is rolling out their own technology this October and will allow an advertiser to alter a message based on the pending weather forecast… Six Flags is testing ads focused in each Park market for each location, but has opted for a more general Brand message if rain is predicted for the immediate future.

Comcast has a system that is being tested by United in the Chicago market for Ted, their low-cost carrier, which lets the ad copy change based on the specific neighborhood you live in…There is flexibility in the system to allow a the targeted travel destination to change if flights are closing out.

Both of these are pretty interesting and pretty cool uses of tech, but the nay-sayers are actually more interesting…

“Television first and foremost is a branding vehicle,” said Charles Rosen, managing partner at Amalgamated, an ad agency in New York. “It is not the best vehicle for driving impulse purchases. If I make a memorable ad for Ben & Jerry’s, it’s still rare that somebody’s going to get off their couch, go to the store and buy our ice cream.”

While it’s true that TV has been primarily a Branding tool there has been a recent rise over the past few years in the use of Direct Response media…

Mr. Rosen has clearly focused his agency’s attention on Branding and has yet to be questioned on it’s effectiveness since he has no issue with zero accountability. When I read that quote, I started thinking about the last time I saw a Ben and Jerry’s ad (honestly have no idea when it might have been if ever) and then thought about my ice cream purchasing habits — we eat quite a bit of Häagen-Dazs.

I don’t mean to stick it to Mr. Rosen, but I do think it’s a tad 1985 to think that TV, and it’s darling 30 second spot are going to keep flying the flag. The audience may still there today, from a mass perspective anyway, but as more younger viewers continue to fragment their media consumption through interactive technologies like going online, video games, DVR usage and even mobile technologies, things are going to have to change. I believe that even the Networks will have to move in this direction if they expect to grab the share of media budgets they’ve come to enjoy.

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