If there’s anything we’ve learned from history, it’s that it eventually all comes back around. Which incidentally is also something you can learn from karma, but that’s a conversation for another time.
The point is, trends, patterns, fashions, fascist leaders and attitudes circulate. We’re a fickle race and so we drag back what we think we didn’t need, and if that is the case, the heyday of television advertising should be making a comeback any day now.
With the rise of all things digital it’s no surprise that television took a hit. Gone are the days we all huddled around the TV set as a family to watch one of the five channels available. Mobile came along and revolutionised our world that meant we didn’t have to find a space on the floor while your mum, dad, nan and Aunt Betty from across the road came over to watch Corrie. Which honestly was a relief for everyone involved because your Aunty Betty moans that the cuppa you made her isn’t good enough, your nan is constantly asking questions, your mum is nagging your dad about his socks and your dad is hitting you with the remote for hitting your younger sibling. It was a mess.
But we began to consume content in different ways. We changed, we grew, we evolved, and businesses and brands naturally capitalised on that. The revolution really wasn’t televised; it was in on our pockets on social media. Quite literally as the Arab Spring proved that you only need a Facebook account to topple a dictator.
But if history is repeating itself, it’s not doing it on TV as the future of advertising has, and is, changing as we know it. Brands continue to allocate budgets to online efforts, lead by Adidas who have assigned $4.3 billion in sales solely through online channels in 2020. They understand that their audience is online on their mobiles, not on the sofa with their mum and dad. They also understand an entire generation that have known nothing but having a mobile in their hand and unlimited access to whatever the hell they want.
That’s not to say that television adverts are obsolete, they still remain necessary and important. But it’s how brands decide to play with their budgets that will make a difference. We’re in the middle of a careful chess game and one wrong move could have you eaten up by bigger and smarter businesses.
Smaller broadcast budgets inevitably mean smaller, integrated agencies being brought on as the big global players can no longer produce high quality television campaigns with shrinking pay checks. Downsizing isn’t always a bad thing though. It gives your brand a fresh perspective and puts it in the hands of specialists who understand their audience and can create quality content on smaller budgets. In the meantime, you’re free to pour the rest of your pennies into the world of mobile, tablet and laptop to capture the next generation of consumers.
Not everyone is convinced however, and Marc Pritchard CMO of P&G, Rob Norman CDO at Group M and Tom Denford CSO at ID Comms have all been heard criticising the darker side of digital advertising and the slippery slope it can be for some brands who can ‘target themselves into oblivion.’ While anyone can mess up targeted advertising, it still doesn’t detract from the way we behave as consumers today. Our habits have inherently changed and it’s going to take more than a few misguided targeting examples to change that.
Not to mention, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality are all hovering just within grasp and they’ll take us further into the world of digital ad growth than we’ve ever been before. It’s time to spend wisely and remember that the revolution is indeed happening, only it’s in our pockets. (Unless you have an iPhone 7 of course and then it’s in your suitcase because that thing is too big for any pocket).