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The Death of Ads?

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 22, 2006

Two of the biggest marketers in the world showed up at the Supernova conference in San Francisco today and sounded more like Web 2.0 zealots than brand giants. Michael Wiley, director of new media, GM Communications, at General Motors, who’s responsible for GM blogs, sounded the most radical: “The existing advertising paradigm sucks,” he said. “It’s woefully inefficient. We give consumers virtually no information.”

He and colleague Curt Hecht, executive VP and chief digital officer at GM, have been meeting with social networking and media companies in the area the last couple of days, and Wiley sounds like a fan: “We see the new social media space as a place we can become engaged,” he said.

Likewise, Stan Joosten, Procter & Gamble’s innovation manager for holistic customer communication (how’s that for a title?), said P&G needs to experiment more with social media—carefully. “We have to stay out of some places” where people don’t want to see ads, he noted. But he says P&G wants to engage with customers wherever they are online. “People want to talk about things they care about and you give them a platform to do that.”

Interesting stuff from companies that have helped define mass-market advertising for decades.

Reader Comments


June 28, 2006 5:58 PM

I believe marketers will seek out audiences wherever they are, as long as they feel confident that they will be able to achieve their advertising goals. This means that operators of online communities will have to instill that confidence in marketers by offering opportunities that show quantifiable success and stand the test of comparison. And it also means that big brand marketers will have to be willing to experiment with these communities as GM and P&G have done here.

In my experience, I’ve seen both of these requirements met through an online community. At ITtoolbox, where the community has a professional focus, we’ve delivered on performance-based campaigns for big brand name advertisers at levels that meet or exceed other media outlets. Now that communities are being looked at more closely by these same advertisers, they are increasingly seeking opportunities to tap into the interactive experience in ways that are unique to communities.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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