Art & Commerce: A New




As the year 2000 approaches, says Hal Levy, it’s time for the mother of all resolutions Interactive new media is the single most powerful force in advertising, especially direct-response advertising, since the advent of the target audience.
So are you ready to reinvent yourself?
I reinvented. Sometime in 1997, the change started taking form after Wall Street became the darling of opportunity for young startups with visions of what the Internet could offer. IPOs helped launch Internet and new media companies with an infusion of OPM (other people’s money). Search engines, like AOL, Yahoo! and Excite, were born, offering a home for computer users, with chat rooms, e-mail, stock-market watching and information-gathering sectors.
As computer users clicked onto Web sites in growing numbers, companies slowly began to recognize there was a new place to offer products and services. Brokerage companies, with credit-card offers, led the way on banners. Advertisers were quick to recognize enormous possibilities if the users who were clicking into sites were the users they wanted to reach. A whole new world opened up for people who could create interactive advertising.
I started looking for designers to produce banner ads and information architects to write programs. Which led to forming a new media division and finding someone cool to head it. New terms filled our office–HTML, Web masters, Web producers, information architects, strategic partners. Without a reservoir of talent to fall back on, this new industry was forced to develop its own pool. Cloning became an operative word. Take that one talented designer, clone him or her, make a fortune. I looked to the ad community for people, just as I did in the early ’80s when the agencies became fertile ground for presenting direct marketing as the future calling card of opportunity.
How well do you know the Internet? Whatever you know, know it better. Take a course or two. Get online and experiment. Expand how you use the Web. Look at five new sites a day. Examine the sites and the banners that are displayed. See if you’re motivated to inquire and respond. Do you respond? That’s the real issue. Most of the work on the Net lacks motivation.
We didn’t make this up, our clients often tell us. The banners may look pretty, but where’s the concept? How can brand identity be crafted to capture the user’s continued interest? Who’s the target audience? What about the promotion needed to drive traffic to the sites that are popping up like leaves on a spring tree? Are you willing to take your experience and bring it to another level?
This revolutionary new medium has changed the face of advertising in the short span of 24 months. New media is tailor-made for all the principles of successful direct marketing. From creative to strategic thinking to media planning to basic account work to just fill in the blanks.
So while I adapted and went one step further, formally changing Hal Levy & Associates to hallevy.com, this is still advertising. And the reality is, while hallevy.com still concentrates its recruiting efforts in direct response, I know the action is in new media. Now is the future. While you ponder the answer, focus on the question.
Ready to reinvent yourself?
Hal Levy, president of hallevy.com, a New York-based executive recruitment firm specializing in advertising, direct marketing and new media.