Brands With Sharp Spears Will Eat Tonight

Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, spoke at USC last week.
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According to Annenberg News, here’s a bit of what he said:

“The way we read a newspaper or watch a broadcast is dramatically different from the way we interface with information online,” he said. “Online we are hunter-gatherers, not having a relationship with just one news organization. And while a search ad may be complementary to this type of online activity, pop-up and banner advertisements present an intrusion for audiences seeking information.”

Okay, good. There are some desperate to make a better banner right now. But that’s misguided. What can an advertiser put in front of a hunter-gatherer? That is the question no one has yet answered. It’s the also the question that will make the person, or persons, who answer it very rich.
Being rich can be a burden, or so I’m told. But I do like to answer marketing communications riddles. So, let’s see…when we hunt and gather useful and/or entertaining information online, we are shiny object focused. We’re not open to outside stimuli, because we’re busy doing something, or trying to do something. And therein lies the opportunity. Brands need to become guides.
When P&G, ConAgra, J&J and Coca-Cola lead us to the information meal faster than Google, or better than Google, we’ll be looking at a new dawn for online marketing. I can only imagine how a brand might achieve this, but it comes down to utility. Online a brand has no choice but to be useful.



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.