Aiming for TV dollars, digital publishers adopt Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings.

Digiday – July 30, 2018

By Max Willens

Pete Spande said ad agencies seem to be looking at him differently these days.

In the past two weeks, the chief revenue officer of Insider Inc. said he’s had first-time conversations with many of the video and TV-buying groups at the agency holding companies. He said those talks are happening in part because BI started using Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings to measure the size of its digital video audience.

Business Insider went to the effort and expense of making its video audience measurable through Digital Content Ratings so it could talk to marketers in the language they’re used to. For all the big top-line stats the Axel Springer-owned publisher can throw around — it gets 3 billion video views per month — buyers are used to evaluating audiences using Nielsen.

“Any time you have to put an asterisk next to something, it invites all sorts of skepticism,” Spande said. “We were leaving money on the table.”

It’s unclear if using Nielsen will help digital publishers get advertisers to shift their TV spending to digital. But publishers say the effort is worth it if it helps them explain the size and composition of their audiences.

“I’m not saying Nielsen’s perfect by any means, but it’s an impartial source,” Spande said. “It helps us answer something we’ve been trying to approximate for quite some time.”

Nielsen has provided the currency that powers most linear television ad sales for decades. But its position in the market for digital video has been less secure. Since it launched Digital Content Ratings in the fall of 2016, Nielsen has been jockeying with other third-party measurement firms including comScore and a host of upstarts to gain similar authority among agencies and brands.

No third-party measurement firm may dominate digital video transactions the way Nielsen does for linear television, but some buyers see momentum building behind DCR for digital video.

“It looks like Nielsen’s going to win that battle,” said Chris Wexler, svp of media and analytics at Cramer-Krasselt. “They had a lot of built-in, institutional power behind it, the comfort of many clients and agencies.”

Integrating Digital Content Ratings takes time and money. It took more than two months of work for BuzzFeed to get set up tracking its audience across all its properties, and the work continues as BuzzFeed launches new brands and shows, said Darris Lee, BuzzFeed’s head of data analytics. Annual fees can run into the seven figures, according to multiple sources familiar with the service. Nielsen wouldn’t say how much DCR costs, saying it varies by client.

But just as the currency opened doors for BI, Patel said it’s given Group Nine access to new buyers. More agencies now house their digital video and TV-buying operations in one group, which means publishers hope they can entice advertisers to spend more with them. “We were selling social more than we were selling our audience,” Patel said. “It’s helping us talk to people that are more traditional advertisers and buyers.”

These conversations are happening as money is leaking out of linear television. According to June research by Magna Global, the global TV ad market is projected to grow slightly in 2018, to $185 billion. Without events like the U.S. mid-term elections and the 2018 World Cup, the market is essentially flat and, in the U.S., down 1.4 percent.

As third-party measurement takes root, the market for digital video may begin to bifurcate, with big publishers capable of selling reach and small ones pitching campaigns tied to performance, a growing area of focus among marketers.

“We see measured and unmeasured markets existing,” said Ed Gaffney, a managing partner and head of implementation research at GroupM. “If I’m measuring a different KPI [other than reach and awareness], I probably don’t need demographic information.”

Digital Content Ratings also is no guarantee of new revenue. “It’s hard for me to point to RFP volume or deal closing [that] has increased specifically due to this,” said Ashish Patel, chief insights officer of Group Nine Media, which has been using Nielsen DCR to measure its audience for nearly a year.

These services paint an incomplete picture of a publisher’s distributed audience. Digital Content Ratings don’t capture audiences on Snapchat and Instagram, for instance.

The post Aiming for TV dollars, digital publishers adopt Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings. appeared first on Cramer-Krasselt.

Aiming for TV dollars, digital publishers adopt Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings.

Digiday – July 30, 2018

By Max Willens

Pete Spande said ad agencies seem to be looking at him differently these days.

In the past two weeks, the chief revenue officer of Insider Inc. said he’s had first-time conversations with many of the video and TV-buying groups at the agency holding companies. He said those talks are happening in part because BI started using Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings to measure the size of its digital video audience.

Business Insider went to the effort and expense of making its video audience measurable through Digital Content Ratings so it could talk to marketers in the language they’re used to. For all the big top-line stats the Axel Springer-owned publisher can throw around — it gets 3 billion video views per month — buyers are used to evaluating audiences using Nielsen.

“Any time you have to put an asterisk next to something, it invites all sorts of skepticism,” Spande said. “We were leaving money on the table.”

It’s unclear if using Nielsen will help digital publishers get advertisers to shift their TV spending to digital. But publishers say the effort is worth it if it helps them explain the size and composition of their audiences.

“I’m not saying Nielsen’s perfect by any means, but it’s an impartial source,” Spande said. “It helps us answer something we’ve been trying to approximate for quite some time.”

Nielsen has provided the currency that powers most linear television ad sales for decades. But its position in the market for digital video has been less secure. Since it launched Digital Content Ratings in the fall of 2016, Nielsen has been jockeying with other third-party measurement firms including comScore and a host of upstarts to gain similar authority among agencies and brands.

No third-party measurement firm may dominate digital video transactions the way Nielsen does for linear television, but some buyers see momentum building behind DCR for digital video.

“It looks like Nielsen’s going to win that battle,” said Chris Wexler, svp of media and analytics at Cramer-Krasselt. “They had a lot of built-in, institutional power behind it, the comfort of many clients and agencies.”

Integrating Digital Content Ratings takes time and money. It took more than two months of work for BuzzFeed to get set up tracking its audience across all its properties, and the work continues as BuzzFeed launches new brands and shows, said Darris Lee, BuzzFeed’s head of data analytics. Annual fees can run into the seven figures, according to multiple sources familiar with the service. Nielsen wouldn’t say how much DCR costs, saying it varies by client.

But just as the currency opened doors for BI, Patel said it’s given Group Nine access to new buyers. More agencies now house their digital video and TV-buying operations in one group, which means publishers hope they can entice advertisers to spend more with them. “We were selling social more than we were selling our audience,” Patel said. “It’s helping us talk to people that are more traditional advertisers and buyers.”

These conversations are happening as money is leaking out of linear television. According to June research by Magna Global, the global TV ad market is projected to grow slightly in 2018, to $185 billion. Without events like the U.S. mid-term elections and the 2018 World Cup, the market is essentially flat and, in the U.S., down 1.4 percent.

As third-party measurement takes root, the market for digital video may begin to bifurcate, with big publishers capable of selling reach and small ones pitching campaigns tied to performance, a growing area of focus among marketers.

“We see measured and unmeasured markets existing,” said Ed Gaffney, a managing partner and head of implementation research at GroupM. “If I’m measuring a different KPI [other than reach and awareness], I probably don’t need demographic information.”

Digital Content Ratings also is no guarantee of new revenue. “It’s hard for me to point to RFP volume or deal closing [that] has increased specifically due to this,” said Ashish Patel, chief insights officer of Group Nine Media, which has been using Nielsen DCR to measure its audience for nearly a year.

These services paint an incomplete picture of a publisher’s distributed audience. Digital Content Ratings don’t capture audiences on Snapchat and Instagram, for instance.

The post Aiming for TV dollars, digital publishers adopt Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings. appeared first on Cramer-Krasselt.

5 Things Google Ads can Now do Automatically

With constant innovations to RankBrain, it’s no surprise that Google Ads has automated so many of their features. While users are accustomed to their frequent updates, more and more of these new features are becoming automated.

What does this mean for users? New automations can make the process of creating Google Ads more efficient since they promise similar results with less work. While they can’t do everything that a PPC specialist can, working with them can prove to be an advantage when it comes to saving time and getting results.

With the latest round of updates, Google Ads has made some major changes in terms of its automated features. Here are five things that Google Ads can now do automatically:

1. Smart campaigns for small businesses

Smart Campaigns was the first solution to debut under the Google Ads brand, formerly known as Google AdWords. Designed for small businesses that don’t have a dedicated marketing staff, Smart Campaigns are almost entirely automated. Built on top of AdWords Express, it’s meant to provide better results.

Smart Campaigns automatically target audiences across all Google platforms and automate ad and landing page generation based on information from Google My Business. While most of the features of Smart Campaign are now automated, there are still a few things that need to be done manually.

Budget, target location, and language will need to be set. Once these are established during setup, they likely won’t change. This means that Smart Campaigns will need little to no management once it’s up and running. While Smart Campaigns will now be the default option, if businesses decide to work with an agency, they can still opt for the full Google Ads service.

By offering more automated choices, users will have the option to choose from different levels of automation and manual management, and find the combination that works best for them.

2. Universal app campaigns

Initially launched in May 2015, Universal App campaigns are often referred to as “AdWords Express for Developers.” With scale and pricing based on outcomes rather than clicks, Universal App campaigns help users get more downloads of their app and help to drive in-app conversions.

Google will automatically manage bidding, targeting, and even put together creative materials to achieve the highest number of downloads and rate of conversion for digital marketers, while working within their set budget. You may be wondering how they manage to generate creative without any human intervention — Google does this by using structured data from the app listing to automatically generate enticing creative elements.

While almost all Universal App campaign features are automated, there are some things that still require manual implementation. To start a campaign, marketers must select a daily budget, optimal cost-per-click, as well as location and language. Google will begin by asking marketers for a few keyword ideas as a starting point for automated ad-generation, such as ad text, and media components like images and videos.

Once users go through the initial setup process, there are few things to optimize when the campaign is launched other than keyword selection and creating ad variations. This is unique to other features that Google has automated since they typically offer automated features in addition to the existing manual options to achieve the same goal.

3. Goal-optimized shopping campaigns

Shopping ads are responsible for 60% of all clicks on Google for retailers. Managing Shopping ads for thousands of retailers can be challenging, so it makes sense that Google wants to make managing them a little easier.

Goal-optimized Shopping campaigns use data from at least 20 conversions over the last 45 days to predict the bids that will achieve the best cost-per-lead, and will automatically run remarketing ads on the Google Display Network. Once marketers set a budget and target CPL, Google will work within their budget to maximize sales and meet that target.

4. Automated bidding

There are seven automated bidding strategies from Google, three of which are based on Smart Bidding. All automated bidding strategies are designed to help advertisers reach their goals with minimal management.

Targets like out-ranking specific competitors are closely aligned with typical business goals. Google can acknowledge targets, which removes the need for marketers to do additional calculations themselves. Google will automatically predict the likelihood of conversions by looking at the device, location, language, and more. These predictions will feed the automated bids used for unique actions.

Although referred to as “automated bidding,” not all aspects are automated in this process. Google’s systems are refined, but they still suggest adjusting targets for factors that automation doesn’t consider. There are certain things that may impact your business that Google won’t account for, so some management is necessary.

5. Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads provide marketers that provide a way to keep search ads in sync with what they currently offer. Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) offer an automated solution that uses Google’s algorithm to target ads for the most relevant search queries.

Once marketers choose whether they’d like to include all pages from their site or just the pages that are in a feed, Google will then automatically target ads and show ads with an automated headline.

Just because Google has automated some of its processes, doesn’t mean that PPC specialists have become obsolete. These automations are helpful for those without a dedicated marketing team, but can also help digital marketing agencies by providing a way to optimize their processes. Using these automated features in combination with manual management can help you make the most of your Google Ads.

To learn more about how a TechWyse-managed PPC campaign can lower your cost-per-lead, then call us today at 866.288.6046 or contact us here.

 

The post 5 Things Google Ads can Now do Automatically appeared first on The TechWyse ‘Rise to the Top’ Internet Marketing Blog.

Bloomberg Media takes a stab at overhauling the display ad.

Digiday – July 27, 2018

By Lucia Moses

Bloomberg Media is the latest publisher to try to breathe new life into the display ad with a new ad format it calls Ad.apt that takes an advertiser’s basic assets like a video and headline and turns them into one of four ad variations, showcasing video, data or related Bloomberg news articles. It also tailors the ad to viewers based on their browsing history.

“It’s about driving more impact in a more efficient way,” said Derek Gatts, global head of ad trafficking, technology and product at Bloomberg Media. “Standard banners don’t perform the way anyone would like them to.”

The ad format follows the IAB’s move to encourage publishers to adapt display ad units that adjust to different screen sizes and resolutions and also adopt the IAB’s principles of non-invasive, unobtrusive ads that are less prone to be ad-blocked. Publishers like The New York Times with Flex Frame have already put out their own flexible display ads that replace standard banner ads whose prices have come down as their effectiveness has been questioned.

“Banners kind of stink,” said Chris Wexler, svp and executive director of media and analytics at Cramer‑Krasselt. “Everyone’s trying to break the downward pressure on pricing that excess inventory brings to digital. As advertising gets more interested in audience-based, it puts more pressure on publishers to build something unique.”

Bloomberg’s answer is to use the trove of data it has on its readers to customize the Ad.apt ads. It can spit out different formats and then tweak the creative by watching where readers hover and click, down to the color of the call-to-action buttons to the headline. They’re being sold direct and programmatically.

“We’ll be able to say, this particular kind of audience resonates with a red button, this resonates with a blue button; this type of headline resonates with a CEO whereas a CTO resonates with this type,” Gatts said.

If that sounds creepy, Gatts said Bloomberg isn’t targeting ads to people based on their emotional state, as other publishers have and as it’s done in the past. He didn’t rule out doing so in the future, though. “We talk about what are the right conditions for an advertiser to message and what kind of message should they use,” he said.

The Ad.apt units also represent Bloomberg Media’s effort, along with other publishers, to reduce its reliance on external ad tech. In this case, Bloomberg for the first time is measuring the ads’ impact using Google Analytics, the same platform that it uses on the editorial side, to more easily compare data across the company.

“Lots of publishers talk about bringing things in-house and shedding reliance on third parties,” Gatts said. “We still use some self- and managed-service platforms, but we’re far less reliant on tech vendors than normal publishers are.”

Wexler said he can see such units working for advertisers that want an inexpensive option, but that “for premier brands, we want more control over our story. Most of the time that automated thing they might build isn’t the best user experience. I still have to take the time to project-manage it.”

Cisco is the first advertiser to use them, and a handful of others have signed on to use the Ad.apt formats, Gatts said, noting that a couple are luxury advertisers, often a highly particular bunch about how they advertise their brands. The company sees these ad formats becoming an important revenue producer, but beyond ad revenue, they also have applications for the editorial side. As it builds up information from more campaigns, Bloomberg also may use what it learns to personalize the site’s editorial content for each visitor.

“Julia and I talk about it a lot, the idea of automatically optimizing and leveraging the same data on edit; we’re always comparing notes,” said Gatts, referring to Bloomberg Media’s chief product officer, Julia Beizer.

The post Bloomberg Media takes a stab at overhauling the display ad. appeared first on Cramer-Krasselt.

General Magic’s forgotten second act was the Siri of its era

The company whose 1990s work set the stage for modern smartphones also created a voice assistant.

The new documentary General Magic is an excellent look at the startup of the same name, which spun out of Apple in 1990 to build software and hardware for mobile computing, did some wildly innovative stuff—and then failed. (My colleagues Mark Sullivan and Katharine Schwab have already reported on different aspects of the company’s story, prompted by the film.)

Read Full Story

Local #DespiteTheDark campaign raises awareness on women’s safety running at night.

Chicago Athlete Magazine – July 26, 2018

By Edward Perez

Endurance athletes often lead busy lives; between juggling a job, day-to-day chores, family and a social life, making time for training can be difficult. For women, it’s even more difficult; 60 percent of women limit their training time to day-time hours, as opposed to 14 percent of men, as they are more at risk for being harassed, assaulted, raped or even killed.

Over the past few years, runners around the world have tried to raise awareness for female athletes, but unfortunately, safety is still questionable. In fact, just this week, a college student from Iowa went out for a jog at night, and has not been seen or heard from since. It seems these cases are growing, and a local organization wanted to take a stand.

On Monday, an all-female group of interns from Chicago-based ad agency Cramer-Krasselt led an after-dark run to talk about and provide resources for a safer running community, specifically for women, after dark. The event was titled #DespiteTheDark, and invited both male and female runners to The 606 running trail in Wicker Park to educate the public about the real dangers women runners face, and to promote running safety.

Ali Barzyk, one of the interns, shared specific safety tips to be prepared in case of danger. She suggests always carrying some form of ID and extra cash or a bus card in case you need to get out of a bad situation quickly. Barzyk also encouraged runners to wear reflective gear at night, and try running with a buddy or group to make you less vulnerable. Planning your route ahead and being aware of your surroundings is also crucial when running at night, especially when alone.

“Society doesn’t really think about it this way, but public places are essentially closed to women when the sun goes down … we noticed we were limiting our time too,” Barzyk said. “Our goal is to empower women and involve men through conversation and action.”

Another local group, aSweatLife, was at #DespiteTheDark, and members promoted its motto, “everything is better with friends,” by offering an outlet for safe group running opportunities. There are dozens of local training and running groups throughout the city and its suburbs, and by joining one, athletes can open up their training availability, and make new friends – a win-win!

After participants ran or walked on The 606, there were games and giveaways, along with informative safety handouts.

The #DespiteTheDark campaign didn’t end on Monday night, however. Visit despitethedark.comto obtain more safety tips, learn self-defense tactics, and generally join the conversation and help shed light on the issues surrounding women’s safety running at night.

The post Local #DespiteTheDark campaign raises awareness on women’s safety running at night. appeared first on Cramer-Krasselt.

Sixth Sense Q&A: Bruce Andreini

  1. Describe yourself in 6 words.
    • Honest, calm, curious, analytical, dedicated, adaptable
  2. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and why?
    • In production you should always hope for the best, yet plan for the worst. It’s great advice because no matter what you do in production, you will face some unexpected surprises. So it’s better to plan or be prepared for them rather than be surprised by them.
  3. How did you get your start in this industry?
    • I came to NYC as part of an internship program with 20 other college students interested in the media industry. It felt like MTVs Real World, but for media students.   I was placed at an ad agency in my chosen field of production and decided to stay and make a career of it. I knew I wanted to get into production, I just didn’t know what it was like to be in commercial production.
  4. What’s your favorite piece of work you’ve been a part of bringing to life?
    • We were given a very open brief from JCPenney to create a special film for the holiday season before that became a yearly thing. The creatives came up with a wonderful story about a little girl who decides to build a rocket to go to the North Pole to visit Santa and we collaborated with Fredrik Bond to bring it to life. We even secured a rare demo version of a John Lennon song that Yoko Ono herself approved for use in the commercial, saying that John would have loved the film. I’ve had numerous creatives reference that work since then.
  5. Who is one of your biggest influencers?
    • Spike Jonze: even though I couldn’t be farther from being a skateboarding Californian, I have always loved the range and depth of his work. From his early music video work with Bjork to his feature films like “Her” or “Where the Wild Things Are.” He is so versatile and so innovative. It’s been nice to see him back in the commercial space with Kenzo and Apple in the last year or so.
  6. What does your sixth sense tell you is going to be the next ‘big thing’ in the industry?
    • Virtual Reality! No… Augmented Reality! Wait – 6-second ads!, yeah those. Or how about blockchain?! Yeah, that’s the ticket! What about live ads?
    • I’m joking of course. I love new technology. And I love bringing back old technology (sculpture, stop motion animation, etc.)
    • For me, it always comes back to creativity. Ideas are what resonate more than anything else. It helps if they can be targeted more efficiently or incorporate a new technology. But it starts with the idea every time.

My time at Tonic

On the first day, Monday, I went to a meeting with all the workers in the morning I didn’t understand what was going on but it was fun to sit in a meeting as I had

never been in a meeting before. Later in the day, I worked on Photoshop making a CD cover with Joel which I really enjoyed.

On Tuesday, I travelled to Marylebone lane with John to a print and design company called Hobs. I got to look around at all the different technology and printers they have there, it was really fun and got to see all the different ways to print book covers, banners and boxes.

I also got to make a website with Lee from with WordPress, my website was advertising for a dog walking service http://cacdd544.ngrok.io/ 

On Wednesday, I went out around London to help with the filming for one of Tonics clients. The video will be used to show to the client how the potential advert would come along, it was a really cool experience watching it come together throughout the day.

I went to a focus group on Thursday, I got to watch members of the public discussing their opinions on different matters and what they thought on potential creative ideas in front of the camera to show the client and give them feedback for themselves and what to include when promoting joining. Which was really fun to watch.

Today, Friday, I have been photocopying sheets for a clients campaign, I was also looking at ways the Tonic Agency website could be adapted and upgraded to make it more exiting, new and fresh. And lastly, writing up what I’ve done each day so far for my blog.

Second Week:

On Monday, I started by working on excel for the Tonic social calendar, I was coming up with ideas for future Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts and writing the captions. I also got to listen in on a call with a client, this was fun as I got to experience of what it would actually be like talking to a client. Lastly on Monday, I got to play around with a Gear VR doing the same activities from the “be the best” campaign for the army which was so cool.

On Tuesday, I went to a company called Inition which had really cool virtual reality technology. I got to use a VR headset, a table tablet which is an iPad as big as a table and 3D glasses which you could see but it also showed holographic images as well which you could move around with your fingers. It was so much fun!!!

On Wednesday, I went to a meeting about marketing. I also made a power point for ideas on what to do for a new campaign where they give information to graduates about the jobs at a company, I created new ideas to still inform the graduates about careers but in a fun, new and exciting way e.g. using virtual reality to play games to do with  and race against the clock to solve puzzles to win prizes. It was really fun because I got to come up with ideas no matter how extravagant and weird.

On Thursday, I finished off coming up for ideas and I got to pitch my presentation to a man called Tony. Doing this brief  has been my absolute favorite project out of the whole 2 weeks, I would like to maybe go into creative when I’m older, it was really fun because I could come up with anything and be really creative. It was so fun, and I loved doing this project. Later on, I proof read an email using special codes to change, add and delete parts of the email for example:

I got 7/10 for a mini test on my proof reading skills, it was really interesting learning how to use all these different codes. I also got given a hologram viewer, which they had tested previously on a client it was really cool!

On Friday, I was looking at other creative marketing websites from links I was sent. All the marketing companies I looked at were all so unique, I watched videos and read blogs about the company’s campaigns and all their ideas and projects they were working on and were all so inventive.

I have really enjoyed doing work experience the past 2 weeks, it has been really fun and I have had so much fun! A big thanks to Tonic Agency for having me and showing this is a field I want to pursue in the future.

The post My time at Tonic appeared first on Tonic Agency.

Aesop Storytelling Series; Season 2 Episode 2

A short history of stories

There wasn’t a lot to do in the Stone Age. Bit of hunting, bit of gathering. The usual. That’s why some bright hairy spark came up with storytelling: not only was it a great way of relaying info, it was fun too. They made ‘em catchy so people would remember them.

Some say part of the reason our Neanderthal cousins weren’t as successful as us was because they had no stories. They could communicate, but because they couldn’t tell stories they couldn’t easily pass on vital information to others, including the next generation. Li’l Neanderthal kids couldn’t improve on their parents’ techniques, they just had to start over again from scratch. Not only that, no stories meant no societies, no belief systems, no sense of shared identity. It was a big bad world and they couldn’t cut it. Homo sapiens on the other hand were a dab hand. And the rest, I guess, is history. As in it actually is history.

Stories, like your first sexual experience, began around the campfire. Stories were passed down through poetry or song, from one generation to the next. But as time went on, the tales got taller. You just couldn’t rely on them. So someone invented writing which was obviously great. The only problem was that not everyone could write. Writing, and therefore the flow of information itself, belonged to the elite. It’s what allowed feudal society to flourish for centuries: keep the masses stupid and they’re a lot easier to deal with.

Then you get ol’ William Caxton, and Gutenberg, and all those other white men who took movable type mainstream (they’d been doing it all over East Asia for centuries but it just hadn’t really taken off). That hip little religious document only you knew about? Now it was all over the place. Monks were spitting out their flat whites in disgust.

Soon just about anyone with some knowhow, money and hutzpah could start distributing their own information on a relatively massive scale. Books, which had once been so heavy and so expensive they had to be chained to the library, and came in any quantity you liked as long as it was one, could now be passed from person to person, or even sent across the ocean. People, who up until then had just been informed (if they were lucky), were now connected. Feudalism was out: it was time to wave hello to parliamentary democracy. (Most of the time. With a few caveats. And not everywhere, obviously).

People just couldn’t get enough of being connected. And about a million inventions, tweaks and minor electric shocks later, we had kit that could send light and sound thousands of miles in a matter of seconds. Remember our friend Disney from Episode 1? He was a man who understood another milestone in this tale: mass audio-visual communication. Radio. Cinema. TV. Mass A-V made it even easier for popular movements to spring up, everything from Martin Luther-King’s speeches to Stalinist propaganda. Take-out: use it wisely.

And of course, this kind of mass media heralded the golden age of advertising—but sadly for us, it wasn’t to last. People got bored of just being connected. The next step was to become empowered. More overflowing wastepaper baskets, and we’d managed to invent the internet. Creating and disseminating your own information was now not only free, you could do it anywhere. It was about ten times easier than replacing the cartridge on a fountain pen, let alone setting up your own printing press or inventing an alphabet.

Now blockchain, subject of a thousand lines of LinkedIn Vogon poetry, is about to ratchet that up a gear. A distributed network will allow us to interact with information in a way that will make us, like the title of this series suggests, hyper-connected, and therefore hyper-empowered.

More than this, the crazy march of technology doesn’t replace one way of telling stories with another, it just creates more. The pen wasn’t replaced by the printing press, and the computer didn’t replace broadcast TV. And once we have blockchain, or whatever hell next thing turns up and screws around with the order of things, we’ll still have all the rest of that shit (yes, you do still have to write your nan a thank you note is what I’m saying). The world just keeps getting more complex, and as adwomen and admen we have to deal with that world. People went from doing what they were told to being able to do something about it—and reaching them is, if not quite impossible, then a total ball-ache.

Now that the information flow wasn’t a one way street, brands had to go from interrupting consumers’ lives to trying to infiltrate this hyper-communicated network: creating stuff people would seek out and want to consume. Content marketing, ya-dee ya-da, heard it before—but data made it a bit more fun. Data meant that you could get the right message (bag of monster munch), to right person (drunk man), to the right place (outside the takeaway), at the right time (when the takeaway has just closed). But without something to hold it all together, this message is about as useful as, well, a bag of monster munch. Yes, data can be the bridge between your ad and the consumer, but without a story—hell, a storyverse—to tie all the bits together, the consumer is never going to experience a cohesion of message. They’re never going to connect up all the piecemeal dispatches you send them into a unified whole—a brand storyverse, if you will.

So what I guess I’m saying is don’t end up like the Neanderthals—without a storyverse, every piece of communication your consumer receives is just a shot in the dark, destined to be drowned out by the noise. Now all you have to do is make like the stone age: tell a story, one that’s catchy, emotional, relevant—or your brand, like them hapless Neanderthals, is in danger of dying out.

 

Download Episode 2 – A short history of stories

Download Episode 1 – Advertising in Tomorrowland

Or, if you missed it, catch up on the entire first season.