In the recent special double issue of Newsweek magazine (3/26/12 and 4/2/12) celebrating Mad Men and the 1960s golden age of advertising, Nick Summers analyzes the tremendous changes in advertising due to social media (Click This Ad Already! pp. 5864). Summers affirms:
Its not that online advertising has eclipsed TV, as some industry pundits have predicted, but it has become its full partnerand in many ways the more substantive one, a medium in which the audience must be earned, not simply bought. (p. 59)
I agree with Summers. All these platforms have their unique dynamics, advantages, and disadvantages. In the early days of the Internet, many people anticipated traditional TV advertising would lose its luster. Todays reality strongly demonstrates these media are complementary partners rather than competing rivals.
The significant distinction of course is the Internet means, the audience must be earned, not simply bought. TV advertising by default and by definition communicates to viewers the awareness they are being bought. Social media on the other hand transforms viewers into participants and they become partners in the process. Rather than being passive, captive recipients, they become negotiators, and with that comes power.
I like the way Jan Jacobs and Leo Premutico sublimely express it. The consumer is the medium (www.johannesleonardo.com).
Consequently, any company today not devoting resources and staff to maintaining an online presence, especially via social media, will continuously find itself behind its competitors. To win at the boxing match, you have to climb into the ring.
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