It’s Advertising Week 2015 in NYC, an event that for the past 12 years has gathered leaders and high profile professionals from around the world to discuss, exchange, and develop ideas in every aspect of advertising. Needless to say, the changes that have taken place in advertising make the last 12 years seem like light years.
Some of the big topics this year have been network acquisitions, the news that Facebook indeed intends to launch "ratings"and YouTube's proposed subscription video and music service. Digital advertising was clearly at the forefront of the conversation. But there were signs that tride and true traditional advertising methods still have a place in the game.
Radio was given its due as medium that is still very relevant. Matt Scheckner, the Executive Director for Advertising Week, told RadioInk: “Radio has brought a robust presence from the industry by day and by night with premiere speakers, content, and performers throughout the week.”
Internet radio was also discussed (and its competition with Facebook) . It was noted that audiences made up of Millennials and Generation Z listeners are tuning in to the radio more often than usual.
Outdoor advertisements, it seems, are alive and in the game, and on view for all to see via billboards and bus shelters, among other places. Steven Perlberg of The Wall Street Journal wrote that the the Outdoor Advertising Association of America will launch a campaign with statements such as: “This ad is real” and “You are consuming an advertisement. You are real,” which is geared toward out-of-home advertising businesses.
The average budget for outdoor advertising is $4.1 billion, Perlberg reports, compared to $50 billion budgets that are spent on digital. So, outdoor advertising is still around, but is not as widely sponsored. The big bucks are being saved for modern technology.
And on the modern tech front, one of the biggest topics this week has been the possible impact of "ad blocking." Perlberg in his piece went so far as to write "the week will carry a patina of fear" on the subject. Erin Griffith reporting in Fortune quoted Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Randall Rothenberg, who coined some inventive descriptions of ad blockers (such as “unwelcome gatekeepers”), and claimed that these types of apps “hurt the little guy.”
Other attendees, when asked, went on to state that ad blocking was “a threat to what makes the Internet great.” How to address this threat? Begin by looking at the general collection of mobile ads, and honestly address what mobile users don’t like about them.
Peter Imburg, of the gift giving site Elfster.com, stated that ad blocking should serve “…as a wakeup call to solve the things that are annoying to audiences.”
As EGC's Creative Director Rich DeSimone noted in a recent Insights piece, "If someone wants to block ads, did we ever have a chance that they’d engage with it? Maybe now the eyeballs we’ll have on ads will actually be people who welcome them and respond to them, making click-through and effectiveness even better."
And as Jamie Scheu, writing for The Huffington Post, wrote in what might be interpreted as a more positive spin on Imburg’s statement, and considers the obstacles of ad blocking as challenges. Ad blocking will force creatives to step up their game. Or, simply stated: “Digital advertising has to get better."
Connie Anne Phillips, Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer for Glamour Magazine, was quoted in Ad Age suggesting:“As far as ad blocking, I think the greatest solution for it is native advertising. Creating ads and working with marketers to take our great assets and make sure that that consumer doesn’t want to miss that marketing message…Create content, and deliver it to the right consumer, in the right context, where she wants it, when she wants it.”
There is an age-old saying when it comes to attracting an audience: “Always leave them wanting more,” which has been attributed from everyone from P.T. Barnum to Walt Disney. Regardless of who said it, in these current times where people can “tune out” ads at will, this short maxim could (and should) be a mantra for marketers and creatives in attracting – and keeping – customers. Hopefully, the dialogs and forums at Advertising Week 2015 built a foundation to build on for digital ads to be not only be seen – but sought out.