Evolution of Different Media
Advertising has experienced some major milestones – think the emergence of the printing press in the 1440s, or the huge impact of television.
Since its very first beginnings, which are thought to date back to steel carvings made by the ancient Egyptians, advertising has constantly had to adapt and change to suit new mediums and an increasingly savvy audience.
But there’s been one medium that’s had a bigger impact on advertising than anything before it.
The wonderful World Wide Web.
The internet has revolutionized advertising in the most astounding way. Not only has it changed the way ads are broadcast, but it’s changed the way consumers act towards them.
Then: Traditional Advertising
Let’s take things back to the pre-internet days. The days when advertising was carried out via cheesy infomercials on radio, fuzzy old televisions, and billboards. This was the golden era of advertising, when the whole movement was considered a huge part of society – almost taking on a cultural status.
The first TV ad popped up on screens in 1941 in America – probably a lot later than you’d imagine. Before the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies played each other, viewers saw a brief commercial for Bulova clocks and watches.
Such a small moment set the precedent for the next seventy years.
Back then, adverts were a staunch part of society. Despite the 50s being a tense decade for America during the Cold War, TV viewers felt optimistic and were beginning to loosen their purse strings as prosperity began to rise.
Characters were built around products to create a semblance of connection between viewers and brands (though this idea of a consumer connection didn’t become a priority until later), and famous faces were brought it to sell everything from washing machines to cigarettes
On television, products and characters began to go hand and hand. Let’s take cereal as an example. Think Tony the Tiger and Frosted Flakes, or the Snap, Crackle, and Pop gnomes for Rice Krispies – both of which are still going strong today.
Despite the different characters and the vastly different selection of products that began to emerge, ads at this time had one purpose: to sell.
Yes, these characters were central to the ads and played a major part in creating an ad culture for consumers, but the product was always at the forefront.
It might have seemed like Tony the Tiger or the Marlboro Man were the epicenters of their aligning ad campaigns, but they simply served as a tool to sell, sell, sell.
Now: Different Motives
Today, the shift in the advertising world has seen the rise of other motives when it comes to commercials. Rather than the sell mentality, ads are focused on community building and brand awareness.
The product is no longer the centerpiece.
The solution to the consumer’s problem is, and hey, guess what, the product just so happens to provide that solution.
Let’s take an example that’s not too dissimilar to the character-led ads of the past. The Dairy Milk Gorilla ad in 2007 didn’t even show or mention Cadbury – the company it was supposed to be advertising.
Ad disaster? No, far from it.
The drum-playing gorilla (bashing along to Phil Collins In the Air Tonight and set against a purple background) got tongues wagging. It got people talking. This wasn’t a brazen attempt to flog more Cadbury chocolate bars. Instead, it was a strategic move to raise awareness of Cadbury and to solidify it as a “cool” and “must-have” brand (because why else would everyone be talking about it?).
Advertising media selection is the process of choosing the most efficient media for an advertising campaign. To evaluate media efficiency, planners consider a range of factors including: the required coverage and number of exposures in a target audience; the relative cost of the media advertising and the media environment. Media planning may also involve buying media space. Media planners require an intricate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the main media options. The media industry is dynamic – new advertising media options are constantly emerging. Digital and social media are changing the way that consumers use media and are also influencing how consumers acquire product information.
Television advertising offers the benefit of reaching large numbers in a single exposure. Yet because it is a mass medium capable of being seen by nearly anyone, television lacks the ability to deliver an advertisement to highly targeted customers compared to other media outlets. Television networks are attempting to improve their targeting efforts. In particular, networks operating in the pay-to-access arena, such as those with channels on cable and satellite television, are introducing more narrowly themed programming (i.e., TV shows geared to specific interest groups) designed to appeal to selective audiences. However, television remains an option that is best for products that targeted to a broad market. The geographic scope of television advertising may vary, from local or regional advertising through to national coverage, depending on whether public broadcasting or subscriber-based cable services are used.
Television advertising, once seen as the mainstay of media advertising, is facing numerous challenges from alternative media, especially interactive and social media. Technological innovations, especially the advent of ad blocking and zapping, has eroded TV’s immediacy and relevance for some audiences.
Promotion through radio has been a viable advertising option for over 80 years. Radio advertising is mostly local to the broadcast range of a radio station, however, at least three options exist that offer national and potentially international coverage. First, in many countries there are radio networks that use many geographically distinct stations to broadcast simultaneously. In the United States such networks as Disney (children’s programming) and ESPN (sports programming) broadcast nationally either through a group of company-owned stations or through a syndication arrangement (i.e., business agreement) with partner stations. Second, within the last few years the emergence of radio programming delivered via satellite has become an option for national advertising. Finally, the potential for national and international advertising may become more attractive as radio stations allow their signals to be broadcast over the Internet.
In many ways radio suffers the same problems as television, namely, a mass medium that is not highly targeted and offers little opportunity to track responses. But unlike television, radio presents the additional disadvantage of limiting advertisers to audio-only advertising. For some products advertising without visual support is not effective.
Print publications advertising
Print media continue to offer varied advertising opportunities
Print publications such as magazines, books, newspapers and Special Issue publications (such as annuals) offer a variety of advertising opportunities:
Magazines, especially those that target specific niche or specialized interest areas, are more tightly targeted compared to broadcast media. Additionally, magazines offer the option of allowing marketers to present their message using high quality imagery (e.g., full color) and can also offer advertisers the ability to integrate interactive, tactile experiences through the use of scratch-it papers impregnated with scents (e.g., perfume).
Newspapers have also incorporated color advertisements, though their main advantage rests with their ability to target local markets. For advertisers, the ability to insert catalogs or special promotional material into the newspaper is an advantage.
Special Issue publications can offer very selective targeting since these often focus on an extremely narrow topics (e.g., auto buying guide, tour guides, college and university ratings, etc.).
The Internet is the fastest growing advertising media
The fastest growing media outlet for advertising is the Internet. Compared to spending in other media, the rate of spending for Internet advertising is experiencing tremendous growth and in the U.S. trails only newspaper and television advertising in terms of total spending. Internet advertising’s influence continues to expand and each year more major marketers shift a larger portion of their promotional budget to this medium. Two key reasons for this shift rest with the Internet’s ability to:
(1) narrowly target an advertising message and,
(2) track user response to the advertiser’s message.
The Internet offers many advertising options with messages delivered through websites or by email:
- Standard online advertising formats (e.g. Banner ads, interstitials.) – A banner ad is a rectangular advertisement appearing at the top or bottom of a web-page. Banner ads are typically 468 X 60 pixels. An interstitial is an advertisement that interrupts the user. It may be a full page or a pop up window.
- Rich media advertisements – ads that incorporate a variety of technology components such as video and audio. Rich media ads are thought to deliver higher impact messages.
- Paid search advertising- A method of placing online advertisements on web pages that show results from search engine queries. Through the same search-engine advertising services, ads can also be placed on Web pages with other published content.
- Search engine marketing- A form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising. SEM may incorporate search engine optimization (SEO), which adjusts or rewrites website content and site architecture to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages to enhance pay per click (PPC) listings.
- Online video gaming- An online game is a video game that is either partially or primarily played through the Internet or another computer network. Advertisers can pay to have their messages or products incorporated into the sets of online games.
- Paid inclusion – Paid inclusion is a search engine marketing product where the search engine company charges fees related to inclusion of websites in their search index. The use of paid inclusion is controversial and paid inclusion’s popularity has decreased over time among search engines.
Social-media advertising is just one of the ways that advertisers use the Internet to communicate with audiences
- Email advertising – also known as internet direct marketing. Using email to deliver an advertisement affords marketers the advantage of low distribution cost and potentially high reach. In situations where the marketer possesses a highly targeted list, response rates to email advertisements may be quite high. This is especially true if those on the list have agreed to receive email, a process known as “opt-in” marketing. Email advertisement can take the form of a regular email message or be presented within the context of more detailed content, such as an electronic newsletter. Delivery to a user’s email address can be viewed as either plain text or can look more like a website using web coding (i.e., HTML). However, as most people are aware, there is significant downside to email advertising due to highly publicized issues related to abuse (i.e., spam).
- Social media advertising- a collective term used to describe forms of online advertising that focus on social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Online advertising has spawned a range of new segmentation and targeting approaches including Affinity targeting, Behavioral targeting, Contextual targeting and Geographic targeting and Purchase-based category targeting.
Piccadilly Circus, London is lit up with multiple out-of-home messages)
The use of signs to communicate a marketer’s message places advertising in geographically identified areas in order to capture customer attention. The most obvious method of using signs is through billboards, which are generally located in high traffic areas. Outdoor billboards come in many sizes, though the most well-known are large structures located near transportation points intending to attract the interest of people traveling on roads or public transportation. Indoor billboards are often smaller than outdoor billboards and are designed to attract the attention of foot traffic (i.e., those moving past the sign). For example, smaller signage in airports, train terminals and large commercial office space fit this category.
While billboards are the most obvious example of signage advertising, there are many other forms of signage advertising include:
- Sky writing where airplanes use special chemicals to form words
- Messages placed on hot air balloons or banners carried by small aircraft
- Mobile billboards where signs are placed on vehicles, such as buses and cars, taxis or even clapper-boards carried by paid agents
- Plastic bags used to protect newspapers delivered to homes
- Advertisements attached to grocery carts
- Holographic images projected into public spaces
- Laser projections onto city buildings
Mobile device advertising
The growth of hand-held devices is changing the way that consumers consume media and search for product information’
Handheld devices, such as cellphones, smartphones, portable computers and other wireless devices, make up the growing mobile device market. Such devices allow customers to stay informed, gather information and communicate with others without being tied to a physical location. While the mobile device market is only beginning to become a viable advertising medium, it may soon offer significant opportunity for marketers to reach customers at any time and anywhere.
Also, with geographic positioning features included in newer mobile devices, the medium has the potential to provide marketers with the ability to target customers based on their geographic location. Currently, the most popular advertising delivery method to mobile devices is through plain text messaging, however, over the next few years multimedia advertisements are expected to become the dominant message format.