Wrong Address

You would be forgiven for thinking that we’ve learned our lesson when it comes to bright shiny things. Time was when all a tech business had to do was announce they had discovered that they had the answer to some knotty (and unsolvable problem) and my social media feeds would, along with the trade press light up with ‘informed experts’ praising the solution to the skies. Especially if the ‘answer’ was entirely devoid of detail.

Mysteriously and all too frequently the solution would then either appear, flare brightly and vanish, or never appear at all.

Too many technologically-driven solutions start at the wrong end. In other words, they provide an answer to a non-existent question, and by ‘non-existent’ I mean in the mind of the end user.

Take 3D televisions. I’ve lost track of the conference rooms I’ve been in, and the pieces I’ve read when the answer to any question concerning viewers and how to attract them to TV was ‘3D televisions’.

Never mind that you had to sit wearing a pair of 3D glasses; or that trialists reported feeling nauseous. Technology could do it, so of course we had to have it.

Except we didn’t. Consumers didn’t want these things. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. At least, not until we’re really ready.

Addressable video advertising is in danger of becoming the latest failed shiny thing, which would be a shame as the promise is undeniable.

The issue lies in how we apply the technology, and who the early adopters are.

Addressable media forms promise much. We can know far more about who the advertising is reaching; we can target far better; we can reduce wastage.

And just there, in those few lines lie the problem.

The promise of addressable isn’t only with the ‘media’ or distribution end of things (where the greatest concentration of early-adopters within the ad world are to be found). In fact, the greater opportunity lies with the creative side.

Finely detailed targeting is all very well in theory but it ignores certain truths. One of which is that brand fame sells. People are tribal in the sense that they like to think that their behaviours are shared, that they are not alone in thinking this or doing that.

There is truth in the influence of what used to be called ‘the water-cooler moment’, in sharing experiences, some of which are based around what you happen to have seen, read or heard (and some of those may well be ads).

There is also the point that wastage doesn’t really exist – all (human) impressions have a value.

At an event I attended last week I heard someone from the agency responsible speak proudly of ‘The Guardian’s’ ‘Point of View’ TV ad. The ad is from 1986 – so 33 years ago. Many present (and they weren’t ad people, let alone ‘Guardian’ readers) remembered the ad.

Would that have been the case had it only been shown to a few likely buyers of the newspaper? And would ‘The Guardian’ have achieved the success it has recently been enjoying had they stuck to targeting some group like ‘recent and infrequent ‘Guardian’ buyers’?

The opportunity with addressable lies less in fancy-Dan media plans and more in harnessing the data and the technology to ensure creative relevance.

In harnessing the big idea (remember that concept?) and to execute it in such a way as to make it as relevant as possible to those exposed to it.

It may very well be that Audi’s big idea is something around ‘technology delivered’ (sorry, BBH) but (by observation) that idea manifests itself via various ads for various models. Ensuring the household is ‘sent’ the ad for the model of greatest relevance to them is a benefit. Just sending them an Audi ad because the household meets the media targeting criteria for the brand is less subtle and likely to be less effective.

The real benefits of addressable media lie in a combination of strategic planning, creative execution and media’s application of data and technology.

Collaboration; co-operation; media and creative.



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