The future of the Internet has a branding problem: It’s here, but no one knows what to call it.
Don’t let the button-down shirt and the rep stripe tie fool you—Bill Bernbach was an aesthete, not an Establishment Man. The Creative Revolution that Bernbach led—which came to define the 1960s for baby boomers as much as rock ’n’ roll did—was about originality in thought and design in service of pushing product.
The advertising business has always been a place for self-invented characters. So was the Internet business in 1994, when I moved to San Francisco. That’s when I met Jonathan Nelson, now CEO of digital for Omnicom, a holding company that earned more than 18 percent of its revenue from digital in 2010.
Beach blowouts Typical evening buffet at the ‘99 Internet Summit, held at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Drive up and down the 101 Freeway in Silicon Valley, or cast your gaze north toward Seattle, and media companies, which expect to book over $20 billion in advertising in 2011, appear to be everywhere.
Will Price says finding the product at a technology startup is a lot like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography: “You know it when you see it.” At Flite, the ad platform company where Price is the CEO, that process actually happened twice.