Everyone’s talking about customer empowerment, but BusinessWeek has another take on things.
Trapped inside an article on nervous companies eschewing untested campaigns that try to reach customers via smartphones, social networks, and other new media, is this bit:
In these hard times, advertisers wield more power than ever. Packaged goods behemoth Unilever is forcing media companies to throw in experimental marketing for free. The Anglo-Dutch company made a proposition to the broadcast and cable networks, as well as Yahoo!, Google, AOL, and Microsoft: Develop creative ways to reach customers, Unilever told them, and it will buy a block of traditional ads. The Food Network was happy to oblige. For Unilever’s Hellman’s brand, it created a “Leftovers” recipe menu for mobile-phone users and filmed several online cooking videos, all starring mayonnaise. “We’re shifting risk onto the media companies,” says Rob Master, Unilever’s North American media director.
Why am I paying attention to this? Because, marketers aren’t getting through to customers with the advertising of old. I know, it might seem odd, for inside this little bubble of adverati we do love to engage with ads, but not everyone does. No. People have better things to do with their time. They can’t be bothered with advertising, of all things. So what are you doing about it?
Are you bringing branded utility to the table? Are you inventing ways to deliver brand-sponsored content to an opt-in audience of brand zealots?
If not, why not? Are you ads better than everyone else’s?