adpushers / multi-media-tasking

Nice article in the NYT featuring several ad creatives discussing the new world of advertising and the challenges in connecting to a population with new media habits. Its true that many people spend all day in front of screens - and not just a computer screen or a TV. There's the phone/PDA at your fingertips (I seemingly can't function without my iphone in my hand and others, including Obama, feel the same about their Crackberrys), touch screens in the back of cabs, digital billboards and sides of public buildings.

Are we nearing the scene in "Minority Report" where Tom Cruise walks through a public street and hologram billboards interact with him personally with knowledge of his background and buying habits? I still get weirded out when Gmail and Facebook advertising changes to match the titles of my emails...

Going beyond the sensory overload and the non-existent attention span, people nowadays are accustomed to controlling their media content to fit their schedules and interests. TV has changed dramatically in my lifetime. Its no longer about the 3 main networks. Its not even about the hundreds of cable channels fragmenting the viewing audience. In the age of the internet, dv-rs/tivo and on-demand, most people act as their own TV programmers and schedule what they watch and when they watch. By the way, I hate how you're forced to watch a commercial when you stream a tv show or even a clip off the net.

In the old days, ad agencies could get away with selling anything because consumers were in the dark about the products. Now, the internet has given consumers the power of information on products and the old axiom about advertising being a business of lying may still be true but the reality of it has become more challenging.

So the admen in this article believe in promoting authenticity of a product and niche target marketing in all available media. All of this targeting will pull in all the fragmented groups of consumers towards a personable yet dynamic brand. One guy specifically cites sneaker companies that issue customized editions with designs honoring rockers, rappers and president-elects. Capitalize on the compulsion of media participation and interaction. So many fools want to be a reality star and every brainiac wants to comment or speak their mind on the internet. So an effective campaign gives customers the opportunity to customize products, participate in websites, viral videos or ad gimmicks.

I enjoyed their take on Katie Couric - I wonder if CBS is going to take their advice on promoting her as a multimedia brand (unless they've decided to dump her). Its true that the Walter Cronkite model of the evening news is outdated - who still sits through a full 30 minutes of news from one source? We gather or get alerted by seemingly hundreds of news sources a day through blogs, websites and news feeds.

I can barely sit through something I love to watch - like a football game without itching to multi-media-task. I remember reading a news report discussing the multi-tasking effect on children. Back in the old days, parents told kids not to watch TV during homework time. Listening to the radio in the background was debatable. Nowadays, many high schoolers do homework on their computer while answering hundreds of IM screens, listening to itunes, peeking at youtube clips, writing blogs and gossiping on facebook. The danger lies in a lack of focus, but it may just prepare them for the real world at its current pace. Yes, there is a lot of time-suckage within the multi-media-tasking, but perhaps the absorbent couch potato is a dying breed.


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