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Subject: Re: UKNM: More webwashing
From: Ray Taylor
Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 10:40:08 +0100

jim smith <jimatflenser [dot] co [dot] uk> said:

>>>i think, however, you are missing the point of the argument
(understandably, given your position). no-one is arguing for less marketing
on the web (except for stef). the point about ad banners is that they are a
dead-end solution: they have failed to mesh with their medium in the way
that your other examples have succeeded to do.<<<

"Mesh with their medium." I can't say you're wrong, Jim, because you are
talking netty gobbledegook. But if you mean that ad banners (one of many
forms of online advertising) do not work, you _are_ wrong. They do work,
there are plenty examples of them working. If you mean that thousands of
sites that have banners look crap and thousands of banner campaigns don't
work, you are _right_ because there are only a few good online ad agencies
about at the moment (after only a couple of years) and plenty of examples of
crap web agencies and unknowing web site owners. As more of us start to do
the job properly, so the proportion of campaigns that work will increase.

But equally there are plenty of print, broadcast and ambient campaigns
that's don't "mesh with their wotsits" but the proportion of good to bad is
higher in established media because - well they are established. A lot of
the shite agencies have gone to the wall. The quicker the shite web agencies
go to the wall the better.

>>let's take the situation of magazines. in many, if not most, cases ads in
magazines add value to the content. <<

Ads in glossy, colour magazines pay for the colour and the gloss and the
editorial content. Mags without ads are called newsletters, cost 400 a
year, are read by a few hundred people in black and white on bog paper.

>>as for TV advertising, high production values help capture eyeballs<<

High production values are paid for by advertising

>>the slots are paid for on the assumption that many people simply won't see
them <<

Exactly like banner ads then?

>>it's clear to see that TV advertising has to struggle hard to keep our
attention.<<

All advertising has to work hard to grab attention. If yours doesn't sack
your ad agency (or get one if your marketing manager does it in her/his
spare time).

>><generalisation>ad banners by contrast make no attempt to mesh with their
medium: <<

What we are looking for here is an ongoing paradigm shift which at the end
of the day will mesh with the medium ..... blah, blah, blah, "Great Bores of
Today" vol 890298. Speak English, man!

>>ad banners are the wrong solution to a fairly simple problem: how do we
market on the web?<<

Ad banners are one solution of many. If you are running an ad campaign that
doesn't work you are doing something wrong. The answer to "How do we market
on the web," is easy. Just the same as you "market" (whatever that means)
anywhere else. Marketing communications uses media to convey a message to a
target market. Choose your medium wisely and use it well and you won't go
wrong. It works just the same with online, which is just another step
forward in centuries of the communications revolution.

>>i'm in favour of more web-based marketing - it, occasionally, pays my
wages. but the medium is just naturally shaped in favour of inclusive,
involving techniques like community and sponsorship.<<

Heard it all before. Vague and woolly notions like community, inclusion,
sponsorship, meshing. Takes up time, fills up a report, gives you something
to put in your invoice. doesn't in itself get anywhere.

Sure, you need to convey a message using online communities. But how? We do
it all the time with our below-the-line campaigns and it works very well.
Below-the-line (what Sitelynx calls grassroots marketing) is generally more
cost-effective than banner campaigns, but takes longer and doesn't work with
sales-oriented campaigns. If you want to sell airline tickets direct,
online, the only way you can do it at the moment is through banner ads. But
you sure as hell have to do it right or the cost per sale will be too high
to bear.

Sponsorship, sponsorship, all the anti-ad netties love to talk about
sponsorship. But what do they mean? A banner campaign by another name, and
one where the ROI is hard to pin down. We recommend to small sites and new
sites to offer sponsorship before they get their ad servers and sales
packages set up and when their site traffic is too low to allow a decent
return on impressions. Sponsorship is great, but it's still advertising, and
nine out of ten times involves banners or something similar.

>>you have to sell to the whole person, not just the eyeball...


Yawn! With this sort of statement you should be in advertising. I hear MGM
are still recruiting. Whadyareckon, Charlie?

Phil Gyford <philatgyford [dot] com> added:

>>Oh Ray, Ray, Ray. This is going to go round and round forever isn't it??<<

Probably

>>,the person in the street who doesn't work
in advertising/marketing (and I include myself as a person in the street
here) doesn't give a shit about any of this. If they want to avoid ads and
it's possible, then they will, without thinking about the effects you or
anyone feel it will have.<<

Good. We live in a democracy. Nobody should be obliged to look at ads if
they don't want to. The more people that don't want to look at ads don't
have to, the more valuable the ones remaining become.

>>If I'm reading a magazine I'll see the ads, but will usually flick over
them without giving them an in depth look.<<

Because they are obviously not good ads. If ads are designed properly and
placed well you will not look over them, as with banner ads.

>>Ray, if you and all your friends get ads made which are attractive and
informative then fewer people will avoid them, your cpm will go up by maybe
a few tenths of a percent <<

Actually, the cpm stays the same, though the cost per click may come down,
which usually happens when we run campaigns and it does make the client
happy. And I, of course, live for my clients.

>>don't complain if a handful of people find these ugly, poorly executed,
annoyingly blinking graphics get in the way of doing whatever they've come
to the Web for.<<

I don't complain. 95% of all banner ads are as you say ugly, poorly
executed, annoyingly blinking, etc., etc., which is why my mission in life,
and that of my agency, is to produce campaigns that use excellent creative,
are well executed and work (though I can't promise they won't annoy some
times too, as the best advertising often does).

But I do find it amusing that these "handful of people" that you mention
proclaim to all their belief that "banners don't work" etc at a time when
the market for online has hardly begun. Banners will undoubtedly be
superseded by more interesting examples of online advertising and no doubt
existing techniques will improve now that we have a thriving third party
online media business in the UK.

But despite their limitations, if done properly (ie by nmc/adplan or the
other specialist online media agencies) banner campaigns do work. It is just
plain stupid to pretend they don't. Hate them if you want to, but they are
not going to go away just yet and are likely to become more firmly
established as we learn the techniques.

Ray Taylor +44 181 639 0015
NMC/Adplan - the original independent online media agency
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  Re: UKNM: More webwashing, jim smith

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