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Tom Denford and David Indo at ID Comms: is media ruining advertising?

On this week’s #MediaSnack episode Tom and David discuss the hypothesis that media mess is distracting marketers, leading to lower quality advertising and encouraging consumers to reject brand messages.

The latest report from GroupM called ‘The State of Video’ suggests that we are now becoming more intolerant towards advertising. On digital, ad blocker usage surged 30 per cent in 2016, according to a new report from PageFair, a company that helps publishers regain revenue lost to the software. There were 615 million devices blocking ads worldwide by the end of 2016, 62 per cent (308m) of those mobile. Desktop ad blocker usage grew 17 per cent year-on-year to 236m.

Another interesting piece of research from Harvard Business School tracks the negative trends in audience attention to TV advertising. The report notes that the percentage of ads considered fully viewed and getting high attention has decreased dramatically, from 97 per cent in the early 1990s to less than 20 per cent in 2012.

The desire to escape advertising by fast-forwarding commercials and installing ad-blocking software is perhaps a symptom of the poor quality and viewer experience of ads today.

Many content businesses have seen an opportunity in offering ad-free experience and built their business models around that. People subscribe to the premium version of Amazon, or get Netflix accounts and watch their favourite shows without ads. A large number of mobile games are also offering ad-free experience in exchange for paid version of the apps.

The rise of ad free subscriptions brings to life the concept of Prof. Scott Galloway that “advertising is a tax that only poor people will pay.” In this critique, advertising is defined as an irritant to be avoided, a damning indictment on the global communications industry.

Tom and David ask how we’ve reached this point and argue that the crappy media supply chain is likely the major guilty party, distracting marketers and encouraging them to be lazy. Instead of creating great ads, they’ve simply targeted more closely and expected the same results.

They suggest that given the evidence that people will accept good quality advertising, there is an opportunity for a new model: whatever you wanted to do, be it watch a movie, login to Facebook or play a game, there would always be one great advert.

This approach puts the onus on the advert and the placement to be more relevant and of better quality. Next year they argue, following P&G’s lead, more company CMOs will want to stop being distracted by media mess and allow their organisations to focus back on the craft of advertising.

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