George Allen, the famous Coach of the Washington Redskins, and his vaunted “Over the Hill Gang,” used to have a favorite saying: the future is now. Given the present convergence of media, I am not sure that the concept could ever be more true for the advertising and communications business.
As marketers descend this week on Las Vegas for the annual CES show, it does seem like the future is now — particularly when it comes to the changes in media distribution and consumption. Where the connection between celebrity, media and technology is at its pinnacle, the chatter is heard loud and clear. I have attended the show many times and unlike SXSW, CES is a commerce show and is primarily about driving sales.
Last year’s show featured stuff: batteries, wearable technology, drones, the internet of things and the internet of me. This year, it’s about media. If traditional digital marketing is a monologue, and social media is a dialogue, then the new frontier is native advertising — or, embedded content.
Turner, the cable programmer, whose channels include TBS, TNT, CNN and Cartoon Network, among others, is introducing a new native advertising unit at the Show. Their goal? “Reimagining” commercial breaks.
“Turner will work with marketers to replace traditional commercials with pods that tell a brand story”, “This is less interruptive for consumers and more powerful for brands,” said Dan Riess, Head of Content Partnerships at Turner.
The challenge with native advertising is the lack of creativity in the messaging. When you start having broadcasters generating creative, such is the case with most Native advertising, the end product tends to err on the side of cheese doodle.
Creative generated by publishers is not a new concept; however, the future of advertising can’t be dictated by publishers. Agencies have always been the source of powerful creative ideas.
Yes the Future is Now at CES and it speaks to new technology and how media is adapting to meet consumer behavior and get brand messages into consumer hands. This new “Native Advertising” method may be the new vehicle de jour. But the fact of the matter is, the secret sauce that drives sales is not going to come from technology alone; truly resonant advertising has, and always will, come from the inspired ideas of talented agencies that work at the intersection of technology, media and creative.