I think I've figured out why I just don't get this new media thing. It's because I speak English, and the movers and shakers in the online space have their own language which I simply can't wrap my brain around.
To wit: the following lead paragraphs from two trade articles today:
"Industry veterans Tim Daly and Al Gadbut are launching a 'next-generation' behavioral targeting company called ClearSight Interactive that uses intelligent matching techniques and predictive data strategies that won't violate user privacy. 'We have effectively termed our business model permission-based multichannel behavioral targeting, an entirely new concept for the marketplace given that current BT providers have limited permission from the consumer and can only collect data and disseminate advertising through the online channel,' Daly said."
"Havas Digital has entered into a multi-level strategic partnership with Media6°, which uses 'social graph' data to connect marketers to customized potential audiences, Online Media Daily has learned. Under the agreement, Havas Digital agencies will become early adopters of Media6°'s social graph targeting capabilities in order to integrate consumer insights with hyper-targeting."
No offense, but I defy anyone -- in the ad business or not -- to read either or both of these paragraphs without his or her eyes glazing over, let alone with a straight face. It's time someone called the emperor's bluff and told him to put on some clothes; or to at least take a long look in the mirror before heading out again!
There's a great advertising parody from the 1960s starring Jack Lemmon and Edward G. Robinson entitled Good Neighbor Sam. The movie's seminal moment occurs when Jack Lemmon (Sam Bissell), an ad agency lackey turned account savior, counsels agency client Robinson (Mr. Nurdlinger of Nurdlinger Dairies) to forego the "sham and pretentiousness" of modern advertising (remember, this movie was made forty-five years ago) and return to the basics by merely stating: Nurdlinger milk is better! His simple suggestion is greeted with 100% buy-in by the client and kudos from bossman Mr. Burke (played by the inimitable Edward Andrews) who proclaims: "In the face of such truth and honesty, I feel somewhat diminished!" Concludes an agency yes-man played by Robert Q. Lewis: "This could start a whole new trend in advertising!" What would Bissell, Burke, Nurdlinger et al think of "…social graph targeting capabilities in order to integrate consumer insights with hyper-targeting"?
Nearly 30 years ago, I handled the television advertising for an upscale women's clothing store called Ethel's. The store owner, a very nice older Chinese lady named Ethel (go figure), asked me what she could do to reach younger shoppers. I suggested that instead of targeting a younger audience she might do better to entice younger shoppers to target her - simply by changing the name of her store. Little did either of us know that all we had to do was wait a few years and let "…permission-based multichannel behavioral targeting" render the entire Ethel's conundrum moot. Bottom line: Ethel didn't go for my suggestion and I think her last customer just passed away from old age.(But boy was she dressed for the occasion!)
Let's be clear: Good advertising begins with the seller, not the buyer. It's the message, not the medium. Brands succeed on the strength of the feelings we have about them, not through interpretation of the data they have about us.
You've read in this same space before the way my brother Jeff and I feel about all this algorithmic erudition that has everything to do with technology but little or nothing to do with advertising. And if it bugs us, imagine, for example, how GM will feel if they ever wake up to realize that their ad agency knows much more about the people who aren't buying cars than they do about their client who builds them.
About Mike Einstein and the Brothers Einstein
Mike Einstein is one-half of the Brothers Einstein, a creative strategy and branding boutique. The Brothers Einstein work with select rapid-growth clients to help define and execute healthy brand strategies in a toxic media environment.