Indienomics? / by Jason Nunes

A very clever advertisement. For Advertisers. Advertising... um... advertising.

I buy 90% of what this guy says. And I like the fact that IFC/Sundance are doing this clever call to action to their advertisers to think differently... and pay a whole lot more money for a 30 second spot than they would on another network. But I wonder if the message resonates. Or if it's just a clever way to try to sell old media to planners that are bruised and confused about new media.

Really, it's not the # of impressions/eyeballs, it's the quality of impression. It's A) the demographic-specialness of person you advertise to, and B) how willing that person is to pass your message on.

OK, I could buy this. But the problem with old media is that there's no way to track this. Other than surveys, and focus groups. You have to trust that what your representative audience member tells you is correct.

The power of new media (the web) up until now has been the ability to tell exactly how many people have actually seen your ad. Something TV, radio, and magazines aren't able to do.

But now we are entering an age when it's not just important to know how many people are seeing your ad, but how effective it is. How engaged your audience is with your ad.

Right now there isn't a standard way of tracking engagement, and it's still fairly subjective. Is it the amount of time someone spends with your interactive ad? Is it a click? Is it a click that leads to a purchase? Is it a request for more information about your product? Is it an eventual purchase within a certain amount of time after seeing your ad? Or is it all of this, weighted and presented in a way that anyone can understand?

I vote for the later. And I don't think anyone's cracked that nut yet.

BUT, this is all data that is recordable, and traceable on the web, not on old media. Yet. Until we can embed RFID chips in every magazine that gets sold, and broadcast TV and radio signals become 2-way, allowing for the gathering of data... kinda like the internet.

I also don't think brand managers and planners are ready to give up their addiction to metrics. Especially after a decade of juicy numbers that are so easy to plug into spreadsheets that can be used to justify decisions.

Score one for old media.

So does that mean that this ad campaign is going to fall flat?

The other side of the coin is that brands are much more comfortable placing advertising on content they know and understand. That they can watch ahead of time and vet. That isn't potentially going to snap back and bit them like a snake in the hand, or user generated content might. Sure, they see the power of the internet, but that doesn't make them comfortable advertising on YouTube, or MySpace, or Facebook... unless someone can guarantee the quality of the content (not gonna happen) or unless it's much much cheaper than traditional advertising... and sometimes not even then.

That's why Hulu is doing better than YouTube, even though it got 88 million views to YouTube's 4.2 billion in 2008.

Score one for traditional media.

Ultimately I'm starting to feel like this old media/new media fight is like the mind body split. And that we may be on the verge of seeing that that split is really just an illusion. That our Cartesean view of the media world is wrong. That old and new are so intertwined (intertwingled) that you can't view one without the other. At all.

Our industry craves the security of old media content. Just as it longs for the metrics that are available through new methods of distribution.

Eventually this convergence thing that was such a buzzword 10 years ago is going to actually come to pass, and we're going to stop this silly argument. We'll watch TV on the web, and the web on TV, and everyone will know exactly what we watched, where, and if we clicked or not, and even if we eventually bought the product we were advertised.

But until then... well, it's gonna be Godzilla vs. Mecha-Godzilla. Safe content vs. metrics. Influencers vs. impressions. And it'll be about as much fun as watching 2 sweaty dudes in rubber suits flop around against each other.

What do you guys think?