A Sliver of Social Media, An Entire Helping of TV

Alan Wolk sees a new dawn for branded communications when he speaks of “The Great Unleveling”.

…for the past fifty years, brands have been able to rely on marketing to “create a splash” for low-interest products and services. So that a clever TV spot with a catchy tag line really could have significant impact on brand awareness for the general public. That’s because that TV spot was competing for your attention with other 30 second TV spots (as opposed to other brands.) So that even if you were playing in a low-interest category, you could still work your way into the national psyche.
For better or worse, that’s no longer the case. Brands in less alluring categories are never going to achieve the same levels of interest and awareness as their more compelling cousins.

American Copywriter responds with:

Low-interest products have to do extra interesting things. While blenders aren’t exactly as commoditized as rubber bands, there’s a lesson in Will It Blend?

Of course, TV advertising is a bigger business now than it ever was in the past. Which is a good reminder that social media is happening concurrent to all the other shifts in media.
I agree with Alan that social media (and the Web) is a very different beast than TV, and clients must get their head around it. But it’s still small change in the overall scheme and there are some clients and many in the agency business who want nothing to do with it. They like making TV spots and if they can help it, they’ll resist downgrading TV’s importance, because their personal importance (and massive income) is tied to TV’s importance.
So, in my view, “The Great Unleveling” is a possible future event, but today social media is but a thread unwound from a massive and totally intact ball.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.