The other day I got a call from a friend who'd been contacted by an agency for some 2.0 guidance -- kinda. Seems they've made some spots, and they've put them out there on the web, and they want to make people look. He didn't know what to tell them. I didn't either.
They didn't understand that you can't make people look. They didn't really understand that a spot on the web isn't a spot on TV -- and that you can't make people look on TV, either.
I see a lot of agencies struggling with the changes that are happening/have happened to what they used to do. The web has affected a lot more than just your media plan. It's affected the way people look at your product, your message, your client, and you.
Aside -- I know, elementary again, for 99.9 percent of you reading this, but somebody's gotta say this stuff somewhere.
The web isn't just a new way to buy stuff, or get out your message. It's an instant-gratification machine.
What you want is there -- just a click or two away. Not just the products you want, but the information you want about the products you think you might want. And not just the information that the manufacturer provides -- but all the information you could possibly imagine, including all the opinions, positive and negative, about your product. You can get it now. And people want it now. Because now, they know they can have it.
The existence of the web has brought about a sociological shift in the way people look at anything an advertiser says -- whether you're saying on the web, or not. People interact, and want to interact, with the things they buy (and by things, I also mean ideas) differently now. They don't want to be told what to do, or commanded. They want to have a conversation -- not just with you, but with people who know you, too -- before they make a decision. That's the shift. Right now, advertising on the web (and PR on the web, and all those other things on the web that industry folks compartmentalize, but that really are all just about expressing ideas in favor of a product) is the most convenient way for people to have a conversation with, or about, your product. That might/may/probably will change. To what, I don't know yet. For now, though, it's the web, and the web has changed the way people act when they're not on the web.
Doesn't mean traditional advertising doesn't work. Clearly, people still make emotional decisions, even when making rational purchase decisions. Advertising can help affect those emotions. What it can't do is be the only voice out there. That's not a fact you can control.
I've said this (or something like this) before, and I'll keep saying it: Advertising used to be like the theater. You put on your play, people watched, and they either applauded (with their wallets) or not. It's not like that anymore. Now it's a cocktail party. If you want to make a good impression, you probably won't scream at people. You'll engage them in conversation. You'll listen. And you'll try to convince them that your point of view is the one to adopt. If you're especially engaging, you'll become popular, and you'll get invited to lots more cocktail parties. You might even become famous. And that's the point, isn't it?