Yes, Virginia, there is an audience

imageWhile working on a proposal for a consulting project, I’ve had an opportunity to give a lot of thought to some of the most dearly held notions of organizational communication in the era of social computing: There are no more audiences and there is no market for your message.

As with any popular belief, there are grains of truth to these, but by and large they don’t hold up to scrutiny.

Audiences have supposedly vanished because everybody now creates content. A lot of people promoting this notion point to Jay Rosen’s phrase, “The People Formerly Known as the Audience” when making their case. However, on this blog Rosen commented:

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Those Ohio University students must be good

According to a report from Online Media Daily, the student team from Ohio University has won the National Student Advertising Competition. I wrote recently about Emerson College’s proposal, which I thought was damn fine. As I noted in my post, victory by a competing team (there were 17) means there are a lot of millenials studying communications who intuitively understand the integration of new and old media.

The Online Media Daily article notes that the winning team “add(ed) tabs to the currently existing AOL buddy list. Each tab would link directly to a different Web site, representing the new facets they wanted to add to enhance… Read More »

Here they come

I have seen the future. Advertisers and marketers should be afraid. Very afraid.

I spent today with a client. It was an interactive session with members of the company’s communications team, but during the last couple hours, the group watched a presentation by students from Emerson College, finalists in this year’s National Student Advertising Competition, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation.. (The professor guiding the team, Douglas Quintal, is married to one of the company’s communicators attending the weeklong summit.)

The presentation I saw—one of several trial runs before the students head to the finals in Atlanta on… Read More »

Will Firebrand Monday breathe new life into 30-second spots?

The 30-second spot isn’t dead, just our patience with being interrupted by them. Those “America’s Favorite Commercials” specials in prime-time television draw strong enough ratings to prove that people—at least, some people—are willing to sit and watch half-minute tales used by advertisers to pitch their wares.

Nothing symbolizes the vibrancy of the 30-second spot more than the Super Bowl, even though many of the big-budget commercials produced just for the spectacle fall far short of expectations. (I look forward to the annual dissecting of the annual ad orgy by John January and Tug McTighe on the podcast, American Copywriter.)

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Rogers experiment is bad for business

Companies should worry about the experiment Rogers is undertaking in Canada.

Rogers—one of the largest Internet Service Providers in Canada—has begun inserting ads at the top of screens, above the website to which customers have navigated. (A screen shot of Google’s spartan home page defaced by a Rogers ad was oroginally posted to Lauren Weinstein’s blog. Google, of course, authorized nothing of the sort.)

Shel Holtz

The messages in the experiment relate to customers’ accounts: The screen shot shows a message alerting the customer that he is about to reach his data limit and provides information on how he could upgrade his account to allow… Read More »

Firebrand: TV commercials as entertainment

The whole Web 2.0 thing has produced a number of assumptions that a lot of people have started taking for granted. Among these is the assumption that there is no creativity in traditional advertising; all the creativity has transitioned to individuals who express it in the form of consumer-generated content.

It’s not hard to buy into this notion. After all, we use our DVRs to fast-forward through commercials we just don’t want to see, yet we readily watch the efforts of individuals who post them to YouTube. Blogs and books are dedicated to CGM. Joe Jaffe has built a reputation around the idea that marketers can no longer expect results… Read More »

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