Potential impact of the recession on online advertising

22 Feb

In the next phase of the recession there is going to be even more pressure for blunt, back to basics messaging.

Much online advertising is already crammed to bursting with USPs and “brand essences”, proof points and CTA keyframes but it is often the phatic element – the charm, the entertainment, the engagement and the smile – that means a brand actually connects. While this may seem to pander to some marketing director’s belief that we’re all frustrated artists or 15 second Cecil B De Milles (god bless the Art Director job title for this & years of confused looks at parties before my girlfriend jumped in with “he’s in IT”) it remains true that it is the best stories that you remember and want to tell other people.

And this is even more so online where you can’t force anyone to do anything. People are more than happy not to click on your banner ad and visit your flash microsite. Be honest – they really don’t care about your brand as much as you do. We need to make them interested and then make them care. Once again the new economic reality means we have to resist the pressure to art direct the brief.

I’m not saying we should cram our comms work with the digital equivalent of Pinteresque dialogue (loading bars anyone?) or big budget After Effects heavy video, but in a post “age of excess” world the smart brands can provide people with the entertainment and rewards that they used to pay for themselves.

I believe it is Brand Reality Creative that provides the perfect bridge between the important phatic entertainment and brand story AND vital real world reward and social currency.

Interactive creative must provide a framework that people can use to make their own magic/tell their own stories and balance “doing stuff for the brand” with “doing stuff for people”. We need to combine story and utility in a way that can affect the real world while reflecting the fragmented nature of the real web (not the marketing web). This means that online advertising needs to be less advertising and more entertaining applications and shareable content in paid for places.

Only by achieving these goals can we prove the synergistic value of interactive creativity in the face of the recession.

3 Responses to “Potential impact of the recession on online advertising”

  1. Reuben March 2, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    Very good post. I totally agree with you! Only one question, what’s the origin of the word ‘phatic’? Has it got something to do with emphatic?

    • davidjcarr March 2, 2009 at 10:29 pm #

      Hah, you caught me having a Literary Theory relapse! I’m using “phatic” to mean a communication or utterance that carries no real meaning but establishes a social connection. A lot of Beckett’s plays (and then Pinter ripped him off) are filled with purely Phatic dialogue. It’s a bit like people talking about the weather but in this case the entertainment function allows the work to connect.

      Anyway glad you liked the post. Cheers, David

  2. Safia March 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    Yes, I was going to ask the same thing as Reuben but I think you have explained it pretty well, Master of Phaticism.

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