Posted by: Jon Fine on March 28, 2007
My former Ad Age colleague Bob Garfield has just penned a sequel to his “Chaos Scenario” treatise from April 2005. (The original—Chaos, B.C., I guess—is here.) By “Chaos Scenario” he means, basically, the ongoing destruction of the entire mass media/mass marketing superstructure as we know it.
The sequel is a bit windy (columnist’s disease!) but the really salient points are in these paragraphs (emphasis mine):
The first element of Chaos presumes the fragmentation of mass media creates a different sort of cycle: an inexorable death spiral, in which audience fragmentation and ad-avoidance hardware lead to an exodus of advertisers, leading in turn to an exodus of capital, leading to a decline in the quality of content, leading to further audience defection, leading to further advertiser defection and so on to oblivion. The refugees — audience and marketers alike — flee to the internet. There they encounter the second, and more ominous, Chaos component: the internet’s awkward infancy.
The online space isn’t remotely developed enough — nor will it be anytime soon — to absorb the advertising budgets of the top 100 marketers, to match the reach of traditional media or to fulfill the content desires of the audience.
A collapsing old model. An unconstructed new model. Paralyzed marketers. Disenchanted consumers. It’s all so … chaotic.
That the ‘Net is, still, so prenatal in big-marketing terms goes far in explaining something I’ve been thinking about lately: that the biggest marketers are still very reluctant to even spend 10% of their ad budgets online, and that some very interesting initiatives turn out to be a much smaller deal when you look at them in that context.