Monday, December 28

Seeing The Future: Ten Trends In Advertising

In predicting ad industry trends for 2010, The Wall Street Journal turned to some of the largest advertising agencies in the world. So we thought it might be fun to recap the ten biggest predictions with a realistic persepctive of which ones might be right and which ones aren't really predictions at all.

The Top Ten Ad Trends, According To Global Ad Agencies.

1. Social networking personalities will be chosen as mass media spokespeople, sharing the spotlight with celebrities. — Christian Haas, Goodby Silverstein & Partners

While some social media personalities have been tapped to pitch products online, the move will be much less effective for mass media. While we might see experimentation in 2010, it seems less likely that social network celebrities can reach offline audiences or, more correctly, outside specific niches unless they have an offline presence (such as an author). More likely for 2010 will be advertisers borrowing the online verbiage of everyday consumers because we're still five years out on Haas' prediction.

2. In an effort to prevent television commercial zapping, commercials will share the screen with behind-the-scene glimpses of the show. — Richard Gagnon, DraftFCB

The experiment will take place, but consumers will find split screen commercials even more annoying than full screen advertisements. More likely, networks will continue to block fast forward functions during commercials (as they already do online and some cable stations have been experimenting with for the better part of two years).

3. Mobile advertising will see its first test with longer-form entertainment. — David Lubars, BBDO

Mobile advertising is still three years out from becoming a preferred means of long-format entertainment viewing. For this trend to take hold, it will require the tech sector to integrate mobile docking stations into everyday electronics. It's much more likely mobile advertising will invest in interactive functionality, e.g., Foursquare.

4. Mobile marketing will help consumers find what they are looking for at local stores in the forms of apps and widgets. — Daryl Lee, Universal McCann

Considering apps and gadgets that direct consumers to locations have been on the drawing board for the better part of five years, the idea is spot on but hardly predictive.

5. Marketers will shy away from individual celebrities and athletes in favor of sponsoring teams, leagues, and events. — Tony Ponturo, formerly with Anheuser-Busch

Ponturo bases part of this theory of on the Tiger Woods affair. It's not the first time (nor will it be the last time) that a spokesperson has fallen from grace. Marketers might pull back from high profile celebrities in 2010, but only to save money, before finding new celebrities with a mass market appeal.

6. Consumers will give their personal information in return for getting the ads they want to see. — Tracy Scheppach, Starcom MediaVest Group.

Consumers have already proven that they "want" privacy, but are increasingly likely to give it all up for the smallest incentives. This trend isn't a prediction as much as it has been in progress for a decade. There is less push back with each step Facebook and Google make to improving their analytics for advertisers.

7. Employees will become the new pitchmen for their companies, with their employers allowing them to talk enthusiastically for their companies online and in mass media advertising. — Marian Salzman, RSCG Worldwide

Seeing employees represent their companies online and across mass media channels is common, and can be better described as a throwback concept. The idea of employee talent has been around forever, with the use of employees gaining and losing ground over the course of several decades.

8. The luxury industry will embrace social media and leapfrog other categories in digital marketing. — Daryl Lee, Universal McCann

While the idea might seem to be in contrast with the concept of a more conscientious consumer, luxury-oriented industries will be making the move to increase their presence online and they will do it better than other segments. The real challenge will not be leapfrogging over other offerings as much as it will be to identify buyers as opposed to window shoppers.

9. In an effort to reduce costs, marketers will enlist more animation and virtual talent in ads. — Richard Gagnon, DraftFCB

It seems likely that marketers will attempt to employ more characters in 2010, but any results are likely to be spotty. Consumers have been leaning toward interactions with real people.

10. Companies that used to fund content will look for more tangible benefits such as offering free WiFi at the airport. — Christian Haas, Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

The idea is right, but it's hardly predictive. Companies have been rolling out free WiFi for more than a year. This trend will continue far into the future as telecommunication and cable companies eventually become future content distributors, regulating networks to be content creators.

Bonus. Ads will be made on the cheap as advertisers cut costs with the emphasis of their budgets being redirected to connect with digitally savvy consumers on iPhones. — Rob Schwartz, TBWA/Chiat/Day

This is probably the least predictive idea of bunch, but social media experts like to read it. Most advertising agencies don't see this as a trend as much as their challenge. Big budget productions and massive ad buys were how most agencies become big players. Now, with social media taking hold, they have to work harder than ever.

While it might not happen next year, the general direction of convergence is certain. Mobile devices will eventually be all things to all people with larger devices (televisions, projectors, sound systems, and desktops) becoming little more than docking stations with more power and bigger screens so we can retain the more social aspects of entertainment.

As this shift occurs, it will change entertainment and advertising in ways we never thought possible, with optional, consumer-selected marketing never being any further than our fingers. In other words, expect the public to be able to bookmark advertisers' incentives during their favorite programs and then follow up once the show is over. It's obvious, really.



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