Copeland: Old Media Will Be Dead Sooner Than People Think

Henry Copeland, founder of BlogAds, is ready to sound the death knell for traditional advertising. His premise, which he shared in the “Do-it-Yourself Advertising” session at Ad:tech Monday morning, is that online advertising is cheaper, faster to change, and gives advertisers more control.

“It’s too late for old media. We’re going to see the traditional model fail more quickly than expected,” Copeland said. The idea of disruptive innovation, which is also the subject of Clayton Christensen’s best-seller “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” basically says that whenever an industry is faced with an effective and cheap new way of doing something that is not being adequately addressed now, there is going to be explosive growth, which is usually not beneficial to the top companies in the space before the innovation arrived.

In the case of the advertising industry, there’s a new model (interactive) that has a radically different pricing structure, and a different value proposition. We also have the traditional model that is over-serving customer needs, providing more metrics than the average user wants or needs, and charging more based on the ability to provide those metrics, making it too expensive for some people, Copeland said.

An example of where old media companies have trouble and innovators excel is the iterative process of DIY advertising, instead of the traditional approach of advertising as a one-time event. An interactive, DIY campaign can be launched, adjusted, taken down, relaunched, and adjusted again. This iterative process is a strength of the medium that cannot be met by traditional ads, he said.

“It takes a big agency six months to plan a single utterance. You can’t have a conversation that way,” Copeland said. “This has nothing to do with ability or intelligence — it has to do with the way agencies are hard-wired. They have a linear reporting hierarchy that allows them to scale; it’s the old mass-production model.”

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