Advertising is irrelevant

Fewer consumers than ever find that ads entertain, inform, or motivate them to make a purchase. "These are merely symptoms," according to a Forrester Research report, "of the world of hurt that the ad industry lives in today, with changing consumers, fragmenting media, an outmoded operating model, and, as a result, unhappy clients." It's getting to be a familiar theme: Ad agencies, just like networks, newspapers and magazines, are still operating under the old mass media rules that don't work anymore. This, of course, is what the writers strike was basically all about. It's also why newspapers seem lost in trying to convince advertisers they offer something. Consumers have replaced trust in advertising with trust in friends, family, and colleagues. That leaves out the traditional sources.

A new definition of “mass media” is emerging. Content Creators comprise 13% of the US adult online population and 11% of online Europeans. Communities can now find and consume media that speaks directly to niche interests, published by other community members. The new mass media is made up of a collection of communities. While many consumers are involved, each individual community is small, fragmenting the market further. As more consumers become involved in Social Computing, these platforms will grow and eclipse today’s mainstream media.


Creative and media agencies are stuck in the mass media world. The talent and processes resident in creative and media agencies focus on delivering work efficiently for above-the-line media with large audiences and large budgets. As new media grows and asks for agility and speed, agencies can’t expect a quick fix of widening capability gaps. As one retail marketing exec laments, “Most senior ad execs appear more comfortable with conventional channels, which they claim are ‘integrated’ because they have tacked on a Web site.”

Here's a link to the full report. You might have to register first.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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