The (Ad) Empire Strikes Back

Photo of ads for CBS shows stamped on supermarket eggs. From New York Times Article.The monster known as Advertising Industry is howling. It exists only to be eyeballed and as our eyeballs have found more interesting content, it's importance diminishes along with its rates. Thus, we stamp the egg.

That's eggs in supermarkets stamped with the names of CBS shows. How about selling ads on airline motion sickness bags (US Airways)? An article at the New York Times site discusses these and other curiousities of “alternative” or “out-of-home” advertising campaigns.

Marketers used to try their hardest to reach people at home, when they were watching TV or reading newspapers or magazines. But consumers' viewing and reading habits are so scattershot now that many advertisers say the best way to reach time-pressed consumers is to try to catch their eye at literally every turn.
Anywhere the Eye Can See, It's Likely to See an Ad by Louise Story, NY Times, Jan 15, 2007

Really, advertisers don't have a clue as to how to reach me. It's definitely not with eggs and motion sickness bags. Please!

You can't reach me because I choose to ignore your pleas to buy. When I want something, I research what current customers say about your product and your competitors' product and then make a decision based on how well your product performs in the real world and often, how well your company performs in caring for customers (or keeping up the conversation, in Cluetrain terminology). Do you have an active Web presence ( not web site), for instance? Do you answer email in a reasonable amount of time? Do you contribute something of value to the Web?

The customer is marginalizing the advertising industry but it won't go away without a major battle as the NY Times article illustrates. Before it fades, our landscape will be saturated with ads. Luckily there is some pushback. From the article:

The trend may lead to more showdowns as civic pride is affronted. “They’re making our community look like Las Vegas,” said Barbara Thomason, president of the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce, of the scores of digital signs she has noticed popping up in the last few years. “The word ‘trashy’ has been used.”

What the ad industry is not comprehending is that the Internet gives us better ways to choose products. We can aggregate buying reports globally via low-cost social software systems. Truly enlightened vendors can join these systems, openly and honestly, and we will give them our attention. These vendors can reduce their marketing and advertising budgets when they move into the new social space. In a sense, we will manage the vendors rather than let them attempt to manipulate us.

Remember Customer Relationship Management (CRM)? Let's call this Vendor Relationship Management or VRM.

Bonus link.

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