Sunday, August 14, 2005

Because Technology is irrelevant and boring.

Hugh and his mates have been discussing the impending doom of TV advertising, and debating how the 'new media' (rss/blogging) could possibly help launch a big brand, like Budweiser.

My take on this is that technologies are largely irrelevant - the thing that's interesting about the 'new media' is not the media itself, it's the change in attitude that the new media brings.

The new media revolution isn't about technology, it's about being honest. People have been saturated with advertising for too long, and they are sick of it. I don't know about you, but anything appearing in a 2'30'' timeslot between TV shows has to get past my cynico-meter set at maximum. The open mouthed magic of "How did that small person get inside a box in my lounge room?" has completely disappeared, guys.

The read-write web has exposed us to actual people's opinions. Assuming that these trends hold true, you can extrapolate that, just as most bloggers appreciate honest and direct insight into organisations they deal with, so will most people. So yeah, Budweiser may or may not get anything out of a 'blogging campaign' per se. But by watching the trends, and using the blogosphere more as a monitoring tool than a 'channel', they should be able to produce advertising for more appropriate channels that resonates with the target market.

This campaign, which I commented on last week, is a clear attempt to bring the small and honest approach to a big brand beer, in a very new media way - not talking at us, but to us.

Look at wikipedia - When you tell people that it' s an encyclopedia that anyone can edit, they always ask the same thing: "Isn't it just full of crap?"
And the answer is no. A finite number of monkeys, banging keyboards all day, and what comes out is an honest, largely objective and correct analysis of everything that every human knows.
The truth wants to be free.

Look at post-Scoble Microsoft. Now we have a window into the company that previously didn't exist - heaps of Microsoft bloggers telling heaps of stories, making it virtually impossible for any marketing department to try and spin public opinion at all. For example, If Microsoft's media unit were still spinning out glossy marketing crap about how excellent internet explorer was, while the IE7 team were telling us the opposite, the company would look terrible. So it has to be more honest. It's a better company because of it.

It's about the conversation - about personal communication. When I'm trying to sell something to a single person I don't yell at them with a megaphone. (They tend to find it somewhat off-putting.) The days of bald car salesmen yelling at us to 'come on down for CRAZY deals!' are well and truly behind us. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it seems that people react really well to honest and direct approaches.

Truth in advertising is nothing new. Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote about the law of candor in 1994. But rather than seeing it as just another card up the sleeve, big businesses need to have it as their core PR strategy. Like most of us, I'm more likely to buy things from people if I trust them. And if they're straight with me, I'll be straight with them.

I think the marketers in charge of big brands that get this, will be the successful ones - The silver bullet isn't in the media, it's in the connecting...

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