No one wakes up excited to see more advertising

„No one wakes up excited to see more advertising, no one goes to sleep thinking about the ads they’ll see tomorrow. We know people go to sleep excited about who they chatted with that day (and disappointed about who they didn’t). We want WhatsApp to be the product that keeps you awake… and that you reach for in the morning. No one jumps up from a nap and runs to see an advertisement.“

Pretty hard words, published on the blog of the website whatsapp.com. Well not really hard at all. There is a crisis in advertising, and it’s getting worse by the day. And those guys at WhatsApp got it straight.

The Internet changed it all, and the advertising industry was kind of sucker punched

Well not really. The advertising industry is dumb. So dumb, that it’s not quite surprising why in Germany there is a discussion going on concerning the „Ad Blocker dilemma“. Yes, online advertising companies in Germany are fighting against Ad Block Plus, a company that provides plugins for browsers to ban ads, banners etc.

Internet portals try to convince their readers, that ads are crucial for their existence. That’s right. They are dependent on online advertising. Very dependent. But online advertising doesn’t feed them with enough money to get a big portal out of the woods. They have to cross-finance with normal print products. Without the print products, nearly all news portals would be bankrupt in the next 2 hours. And print is dwindling every day.

I think Ad Block Plus is right. How come you’d think, we are an advertising company, and being for ad blocking is being against our clients. Apparently.

But the opposite is true. In the last issue of the German advertising magazine HORIZONT (27/2013 7-4-2013) those guys have found out that „Content Beats Blocking Anger“ (Content schlägt Blockierwut). Apart from the fact, that the German title is misleading (nobody is angry about banner ads, they are just irrelevant for 99.9 % of us), the German „creme de la creme“ of online advertisers has found out: „Die Werbung muss einfach besser werden.“ (advertising has to get better, because „annoying is a lot easier than creative“)

Come on guys. Is Rome the capital of Italy? German advertisers, when giving statements in professional journals, always want to disguise their shibboleths with bombastic lines. Fact is, you won’t change a pop up (my god!) or pop-over (hell) ad to something, the audience adores, unless you promise 100 Bucks in clicking on the ad. Otherwise everyone is annoyed by any interruption or blinkering overkill. You can’t be creative, because the idea of the banner is not creative at all. And: those guys have found out, that Flash banners aren’t a good idea. When did the iPhone start? 2007? So it’s about 6 years, that those smartypants have found out, that nobody pays attention to something, that’s invisible on tablets and smartphones (well almost invisible), because nobody does fallbacks any more. And the real kicker is, that those guys postulate: „HTML5 is the future. There are no limits to creativity“.

Let me tell you something guys. Creativity has nothing to do with technique. It makes no difference if you use Flash or HTML5 for your blinkering ads. The user won’t take notice of them either. You got to think about other means to get your clients message to the consumer. And surely, it will be something completely different, and apparently something NOT related to Websites. This will be bad news for the news portals – and bad news for us all, because when the money stops, the portals will get in serious trouble, leading to a lot more journalistic stunts like the Huffington Post, a news aggregator where quality journalism has definitely bid the big one. And it’s coming to Germany. Oh boy.

Remember what happened recently in Chicago? The Sun-Times let go its photography staff in favor of more multimedia and reporters with iPhones. Look at the difference here. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

Brings us back to the advertising dilemma: It is not only the fault of the creative community. If you want to promote your product/service/company and want to be outstanding, you will have to pay more than the „15 Bucks“ for a banner ad. You will have to be creative in the sense of CREATING something new and outstanding. And suddenly the ad blocker isn’t the problem any more.

Speaking of „creative“ – look at this spot from Coca Cola for Coke Zero. It was actually a promotion for the start of the new Bond „Skyfall“ in November 2012. Kwai Chi of „the social partners“ thinks the campaign was a social failure. Could be, but as a banner ad just for Coke Zero, it would have been even more uninteresting, wouldn’t it? See for yourself.

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