Blogs And Such Not Ready For Prime Time

The article below is a good read–it’s both funny and provocative.

Reuters: Proponents of the latest Web trends were warned on Tuesday that the rest of the world may not have a clue what they are talking about.
A survey of British taxi drivers, pub landlords and hairdressers — often seen as barometers of popular trends — found that nearly 90 percent had no idea what a podcast is and more than 70 percent had never heard of blogging.
“When I asked the panel whether people were talking about blogging, they thought I meant dogging,” said Sarah Carter, the planning director at ad firm DDB London.
Dogging is the phenomenon of watching couples have sex in semi-secluded places such as out-of-town car parks. News of such events are often spread on Web sites or by using mobile phone text messages.
More people (56 percent) understood the phrase “happy slapping” — a teenage craze that involves assaulting people while capturing it on video with their mobile phones — than podcasting (12 percent) or blogging (28 percent).
“Our research not only shows that there is no buzz about blogging and podcasting outside of our media industry bubble, but also that people have no understanding of what the words mean,” Carter said. “It’s a real wake-up call.”
A blog, short for Web log, is an online journal, while podcasting is a method of publishing audio programs over the Internet — a name derived from combining iPod, Apple’s popular digital music player, with broadcasting, even though portable devices are not necessary to listen to a podcast.
DDB, a unit of New York-based advertising group Omnicom, said the survey results indicate that agencies may be pushing their clients to use new technology — that is, to advertise on the new media formats — too quickly.
“We spend too much time talking to ourselves in this industry, rather than getting out there and finding out what’s really going on in the world,” DDB’s chief strategy officer David Hackworthy said.

It should be noted that DDB has an interest in sustaining mass media tools like TV. And while London taxi drivers, pub owners and hairdressers have important perspectives, there are many products and services that sell well to sophisticated audiences online. Having said that, the bloatosphere, like agency culture itself, can be an insular scene with a wicked echo.
I know for myself, I find the long tail of micro markets more interesting and satisfying. Plus, blogs and podcasts don’t need to match TV’s reach. It’s an all-of-the-above argument. Mass marketers will continue to use mass media to gain awareness, and the same brand managers will increasingly turn to micro media to engage their best customers.



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.