6 September 2008

destination advertising

I went to the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB’s) summer debate this week, where the motion was: Online advertising doesn’t need to be creative. I’ve never been to an IAB event before, but the speakers were interesting, and, needless to say, the free bar impressed me very much. So it was a good night, despite a surprisingly low turnout. Perhaps inevitably, the motion wasn’t passed. It always needs to be creative. But the team arguing for the motion made some interesting points that have led me to ponder a couple of questions. Firstly, where is the/is there a real boundary between creative and strategic decision-making? Paid-for search was talked about a lot, and although a couple of lines of text on a search results page aren’t going to compete with Balloonacy for awards, surely there’s some creative thinking that goes on there? Sure, you can analyse the search terms to pay for, but then you have a choice of what you write for the result, don’t you? It could, for example, be filled with brand positioning, some other grammatical sentence or a string of key words. Isn’t that a creative decision, rather than a strategic one? Also, more importantly, what do consumers think websites are for? They are brand experiences, but do they seem them as destinations in their own right, or shop windows? Or, put in a more industry jargon way, why/would a consumer differentiate between advertising and experiential marketing? If they wouldn’t, should we stop seeing them as separate things? (Pic courtesy of this person.)

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