Yes, we all know how big the search advertising market is. Just look at the results announced by Google last week. We also know that online is still only 6%-7% of total advertising spend in the US. So, what's going to drive the growth in online advertising? Will advertisers keep pouring more money into text-ads displayed right next to search results at the expense of print, radio, television, billboards etc? I think not! There are some really interesting things (call them experiments for now) happening in the online world and some of them have the potential to change the face of online advertising.
- We have all heard about Google's purchase of YouTube for $1.6B and potential of video ads. Chad Hurley announced YouTube's intention to share advertising revenue with users in the World Economic Forum. Everyone is waiting for the details and the impact of this. You can watchChad's commentaryhere. What's more interesting to mein the video ad space is the potential of consumer-generated videos that push products. An amateur video of Diet Coke and Mentos candies mixed together to produce shooting fountains of soda was one of the most watched videos on the web last year. Not bad for free publicity for Coke. Not very different from the product placement that we are all so used to watching on the television. You take entertainment, encourage creativity,place products naturally and bingo!
- I have talked about product placement in the past. How about reverse product placement? I came across an article in BrandWeek that talked about this subject. Instead of a real brand in a fictional environment, you create a fictional brand in a fictional environment and then release it into a real world. A few examples cited were: restaurant chain Bubba Gump Shrimp Co (based on Forrest Gump), Nestle's Willie Wonka candy brand (Harry Potter) and Potion released by beverage maker Suntory in Japan last year (a drink that first appeared in Square Enix's videogame Final Fantasy). Another twist to this is introducing a real-world brand from outside the US in a fictional environment here and gauge the audience's reaction.
- And then of course there is a real-world brand introduced in a fictional environment released in a fictional world (kinda). Or better yet, introduce a fictional brand in a fictional environment in a fictional world. Yes, you got it right. Second Life. IBM, Dell and a number of other brand name advertisers have embraced Second Life as a powerful advertising medium. Starwood Hotels and Resorts launched a sub-brand called Aloft in Second Life shortly befored it appeared in the real-world. Of course, there are also ad agancies in SecondLife who can help you advertise there. It will be interesting to see what implications virtual world would have in our daily life. Imaginea virtual world tying into real-world entertainment and transactions. It will be a fair game for anyone to build a compelling brand identity there.
I can't conclude without mentioning the saga that accompanied TBS's bold forray into guerilla marketing in Boston. In case you missed it, read the story published in The Boston Globe. TBS subsequently apologized to the state and local authorities and agreed to pay for the damages but this was quite an event. This is the wonderful world of advertising and it only gets better.