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Influenced Advertising: A Critical Departure, Part 2

  |  June 8, 2007   |  Comments

When does offline advertising dictatorship become an online dialogue? Final in a series.

In part one, I discussed how media behavior is changing from a one-way media dictation to an orgy of consumption and emulation.

In this new ad forum, on- and offline are transitioning from the rational and monolithic to the abstract and inclusive. This is bound to mutate even more as more people gain access to everything and just about everyone. A truly frightening concept.

We're now in a place where people are the ad; scandalous actions are the culture; and media are the great Hydra that swallows it all up. This dynamic is bound to mutate as well, but the idea of a brand celebrity will most likely widen and accelerate from event to event.

Participation will increase as well. The Warholian anecdote will transform: in the future, everyone will be famous for about 15 million media impressions. The multiple celebrity layers will grow, wither, and die or change over very short periods. Instead of a thousand different celebrities and a thousand different brands vying for their endorsement, there will be millions of celebrities, as everyone who participates online will have a level of celebrityhood in her MySpace, Facebook, blog, or whatever.

Yes, there will be such a thing as a "celwebrity." All you have to do is follow the top of the heap and create a little buzz around what it is that makes you interesting and remarkable. Then anyone becomes her own advertising campaign: rich, unique, crazy, bizarre, you name it, and all of your antics are instantly accessible by millions.

But how can we guarantee that a celwebrity is the real deal?


It won't be the form of measurement we see today. Instead, it'll be a hybrid form of ensuring that an action, an interaction, and a brand message have broken through the clutter. Online has changed media and advertising; measurement is the last holdout. Like a government hanging on to its last bit of power before the revolution, our ability to analyze the value of a multimedia experience must change.

Yet with all the proliferation of personal media and its explosive growth, how could the stalwart pachyderm of marketing measurement keep up?

There's probably no single answer, but it starts with the ability to evolve the measurement system into media classifications -- personal, professional, nonprofit, and so on. Then we give every form of input, interaction, and output a value. There would need to be threshold levels of valuation based on a segment, just in case your nephew creates a video that's seen by millions in one day.

That may be a little too simplified, but, hey, I'm a creative. I like things to sound interesting and stimulating.

So as marketers who are hearing Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 and are still wondering what happened to Web 1.0, think about the collective user experience as the place you're going. Think that all media, personal or otherwise, will be the same. And that a democratic mind will be better at getting the message right. (And you never thought you'd be a politician.)

Online will be best at educating the better path to take with your marketing initiatives. Even though it's getting ever bigger, it's also getting ever better at delivering a quality message and moment. And soon, you should be able to measure it at the same level.

Despite the latest fad, advertising won't be replaced by the people; advertising will become the people. All you need are the tools to tap in to the spectacle.

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Dorian Sweet

Dorian Sweet is the vice president and executive creative director of GSI Interactive who leads strategic development and innovation in online advertising, Web development, e-commerce, and customer relationship management programs. His work has brought award-winning online solutions to such clients as Clorox, Miller Brewing Company, GE, Visa, eBay, British Airways, Wells Fargo, Discovery Networks, Motorola, Kodak, Sears, 20th Century Fox, and others.

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