The age of advertising probably began when there were two cave men vying for the attention of one cave girl. We imagine her to have been highly intelligent and rather selective in the process. Isn’t it the one with the cachet who controls the relationship? Or perhaps it’s the one with the cash? Whatever. Since then advertising has evolved as a pretty good compromise between business and consumer interests. This path runs reasonably smoothly with a few exceptions along the way.
Then came the Internet and everything changed. As with other major collective thought shifts, the once trepidacious herd made a quick beeline toward Internet advertising as soon as the greener grass at better prices, with more promises of tastiness became obvious. Now the pasture is crowded, with several less than desirable herd members. Let the head butting begin.
Professor Eric Clemons at the prestigious WhartonSchool , noted the decline in Internet advertising. He crafted a viewpoint that this downturn was not only a result of the general economic climate but also because the public is averse to ads for various reasons. He also criticized Google for misdirecting searchers to unwanted sites.
And in the dark and stormy night that followed, negative comments about the professor’s work rained down in cyberspace. Some said – it’s the economy. Others thought ads needed to be less affiliate and more local. “Danny Sullivan Believes in the Future of Online Advertising,” proclaimed a headline on techcrunch.com, with Sullivan issuing his own critique of the professor. The lines in the sand were drawn.
As for us, we’re mostly straddling the line, weighing the arguments presented by both sides. Isn’t truth usually somewhere in the middle? For now we’ll continue with the idea that a truthful message, thoughtfully crafted and delivered, will have impact. When something better comes along, we’ll adapt.