Sunday, November 11, 2012

People Aren’t Skipping Advertising. They’re Skipping Interruptions. Which Just So Happen To Be Advertising.

The new thing that everybody seems to be talking about is something called “native advertising.” 

What is native advertising?

Hell if I know.  There appear to be many different answers.  But basically, from what I can decipher, it is advertising that doesn’t look, feel or smell like advertising.

If you make advertising that doesn’t look like advertising, that looks like something else, well then, people won’t skip it.

At least, that’s the theory.

It’s a theory that’s been around for quite some time.

In fact, the skilled creators of commercials have always known that the way to make a commercial successful was to make it so it didn’t look, feel or smell like a commercial.

The job of the TV commercial was to confuse the thumb.  Commercial comes on, people click to another channel.  But wait, is this an ad?  Doesn’t look like an ad.  What is this?

A skilled creative person realized that if he/she could confuse the thumb of the viewer for a second or two, then they had a chance to keep the viewer watching for all thirty seconds. 

The best way to confuse the thumb was to not have the commercial look, feel, sound or smell like a commercial.

Now this “new phenomenon” has a name.  Native Advertising.


The problem is that native advertising is a solution to the wrong problem.  Control has shifted from the deliverer of the advertising to the viewer of the advertising.  The viewer can now dictate what they see and when they see it.

There are a few of us who will argue that people don’t dislike advertising.  What they dislike is the way that advertising is delivered.  The way advertising interrupts what they actually want to see.  As you can see here, Fred Wilson, co-founder of Union Square Ventures, is one of those.

If native advertising is delivered in an interruptive format, it too, will be skipped.

To solve a problem, you first need to know what the problem is.

The way advertising is delivered is what is native to this problem. 

Not the advertising.

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