Friday, June 21, 2024

The Changing Face of Advertising

The phenomenal growth of the Internet is revolutionizing the communication industry. Old models of communication strategy are becoming irrelevant.

The phenomenal growth of the Internet is revolutionizing the communication industry. Old models of communication strategy are becoming irrelevant.

Life in the new millennium will revolve around our ability and capacity to have immediate access to vast amounts of information, presented with dynamism, in real time, and in an interactive mode. (Immediate access – via Internet-enabled devices wherever we are, in our kitchen and bath, in bars, on our dash boards, in the elevator and in our plane seats). Advertising, as it was once called, will be changed forever.

Until now, Print and TV were the primary media for sending our messages. Now we have the amazing power of the Internet, we can compare methods, and the deficiencies of print and TV become clear.

Print and TV:
Offer limited bits of information.
Offer it from a distance.
Are received by a passive viewer.
Have relatively little depth.
Have almost zero continuity.

The Internet:
1. Establishes connection, both literally and figuratively.
When someone logs on to your web site, they have made a conscious effort, physically and mentally, to connect. He is an active viewer. When the site comes up, a mental connection is firmly established. It is as if they are now in the lobby of your sales office, and they must feel welcome.

2. Establishes captivation:
Having connected to your site, a “viewer” does not turn away, or skip the channel. Captivation is established, and most persons will go two or three levels deep into the site. This person is no longer a “viewer” but a visitor to your facilities.

3. Establishes continuation.
Having consciously connected once, visitors will always have a point from which to reestablish connection, whenever they want. In traditional advertising, continuity is limited to the phone, and all the hassles that it may entail.

However, the challenge is to get large numbers of viewers to want to visit your site. Just posting your web site address on traditional ads will not do. Waiting for people to search and maybe find you via a search engine is also too passive.

The following two methods need to be employed, the first being the most effective. It assumes the use of traditional methods to initiate the process (Print, TV, Billboards etc.).

1. Curiosity
What can you say in an ad that will arouse enough curiosity to make your audience want to visit your site? This is the primary method, and it involves using catchy .com phrases or slogans, which generate the desired level of curiosity, or evokes some strong sentiment.

2. Candies
The second method is by offering candies. That is you offer something free, or some benefit to attract visitors. It may be future cyber-dollars, or NetMiles (akin to Airmiles).

Once the viewer decides to visit, then the sheer power of the Internet takes over. “Advesting”, as it is now called, the combination of advertising and virtual guesting, because the visitor to your site is your virtual guest)(the 5C’s model) is infinitely more powerful than “advertising”, because it offers:

Connection,
Captivation,
Continuation,
once the viewer is invited through Curiosity or Candies.

Imagine someone driving along a highway in L.A. or Toronto, and he or she sees a huge billboard saying: “Lovethefeeling.com” and nothing else. The very next time that person gets to a keyboard, at the office or at home, he or she will type, “lovethefeeling.com”. Why?

It is catchy.
It arouses curiosity.
It hints at sensuality.
It is both a statement (I love the feeling) and a command (love the feeling!)
It is easy to remember.

Imagine this phrase in the pages of Time or USA Today, or, on bumper stickers; you will get millions of visitors. These types of phrases are priceless. Advertising professionals need to focus on the art of each of the 5 C’s, to exploit the phenomenal potential of Internet “advesting”.

Ali Gibran is an Internet consultant in the Toronto Area.

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