Bob Garfield: Chaos, A.D.

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.

(snip)

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.

Reader Comments

Dwayne

March 28, 2007 11:18 AM

Enjoyed your hard-copy issue on Mobile Broadcasting. One element that may in fact hasten more advertising in this venue is the coming of the full size screen. See www.mvis.com

warren leming

May 20, 2007 12:32 PM

The American media is a black hole, known world wide for its spin,propoganda, CIA contacts, and add the NSA and ASA to that. CNN was noted for having military advisors on site to promote the Iraq war.
The remaining area for "truth" in the US remains "satirical" shows. A sad pass: a corrupted media, and now to the internet.. we're all in for a long, hard time when that comes to pass.

John Baker

January 18, 2009 8:50 AM

It is true that the Internet is still in its infancy, but it matures pretty quickly.

Unfortunately that doesn't help the established media system, because when the money moves it will move into efficient markets like Google adwords and not inefficient ones like the network upfront system.

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