The Web can prove challenging for advertisers, but leading industry figures gathered today to say how they would change that dynamic instead chose to focus on how advertising needs to change.
The advent of the Web has proven a challenge to most marketers as audiences splinter and the methods of reaching consumers decline in effectiveness. "Seven Minutes to Reinvent the Internet (for Advertising)" brought together seven ad sellers, buyers and creative executives to brainstorm on how it could be different.
But for most of the participants, the brief was wrong. Instead, they chose to focus on what the advertising industry itself must do to adapt to the Web.
As Michael Lebowitz, CEO of digital shop Big Spaceship, pointed out, the Internet reinvents businesses. Those like the music industry that resist tend not to fare well.
"It forces you to adapt or you fail," he said.
Others struck the same note, reiterating the hopelessness of corralling the Web to fit the whims of brands.
JWT North America CCO Ty Montague, after showing a scene from horror classic The Thing to illustrate his point, summed it up this way: "Ain't gonna happen." Instead, marketing must play into the Web's strengths, he said.
As an example, Montague suggested Cablevision re-engineer its bill into a two-way marketing vehicle. Instead of a static request for payment, he imagined the bill transformed into "William," an online concierge that would collaborate with customers, solicit feedback, reward activity and tailor offers based on individual preferences. Montague, for example, would get offers to contribute content to Current TV.
"William is trying to drive the value of our relationship up -- for both of us," he said.
Several panelists bemoaned the state of advertising, encouraging the industry to heal itself.
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