Great article in today’s WSJ about advertising trends for 2010. Writer Suzanne Vranica combs Madison Avenue to find out what we’ll be seeing in 2010. Here are her 10 trends and my Red Slice take on them.
1) Rising Stars: We thought we were done with Joe the Plumber but alas, everyone is a critic these days. So rather than just citing expert movie critics, fancy awards or the like, more companies will opt for showcasing good reviews and quotes in their ads from normal folk via Twitter and Facebook comments. I love the democracy of this era, and I’m a fan of Yelp, but I’m not sure that just anyone who has an opinion is really always relevant to me.
2) Divided Attention: Embedding more advertising in programming will be a continuing trend to counteract TiVo and DVR zapping. Some will get more creative with this, split-screening actual content with ads on the other side of the screen, or giving viewers more “behind the scenes” footage on a talk show or live event while an ad runs alongside it. We thought we were ADD now with the 24-hour news ticker. Yikes.
3) Mobile. For Real This Time: Companies will get more creative making mobile ads more useful to consumers via real-time ads while shopping or in a specific location. The article states this may be in the form of apps and widgets rather than pure-play advertising, which has not translated that successfully to mobile use. If someone made an app to help me find random stuff at Safeway that is not listed on the aisle signs, that would be cool.
4) Tiger Fallout: Watch for companies to sponsor more teams or events and less individual athletes and celebs, leaving them exposed to less risk from, ahem, “personal transgressions.”
5) Getting to Know You: Consumers may start to give more personal information and “opt-in” just to ensure they only see relevant ads. This may also come into play with cable companies who can target specific households and demographics for advertisers. Not sure this one will really fly, as people balance identity theft concerns with trying to simplify their lives – and their in-boxes.
6) Cheaper Pitchmen: Employees: While Best Buy has been using actual employees for their ads lately, I’m not sure this is the way to go. The thought is that employees understand the products best and can be the best evangelists, which is totally true, but not all employees are camera-ready or engaging enough to do what ads need them to do. I would say this may work if the right employees are chosen and not just the CEO’s son-in-law or the like. Not sure if Southwest us using actual employees for their Bags Fly Free ads (which I adore) but if they are, then they totally lucked out and have some great people they are using.
7) Lux 2.0: Luxury companies finally got their digital acts together, although late to the party. But given the budgets they have to work with, they could be on the cusp of innovative advertising and “leapfrogging the competition” as the article states. I would say this extends to luxury publishing/media brands as well (another industry late to the party).
8) Avatar Envy: I hate to say this to my fellow actors, but this is a new trend. Less real actors, more animation and virtual talent in ads seems to be the financial way to go. It’s cheaper and avatars don’t demand residuals or require Union contracts – or lock themselves in their trailers. Plus, it avoids issues as noted in #4 above.
9) Watch One, Get One Free: As the ad noise gets deafening, companies offering real value will rise above the din. Notice all the free Wi-Fi at airports lately, sponsored by so-and-so? Just like “cause marketing”, giving away freebies will attract attention and good will for the brand.
10) Less Glitz: Really? Promise? In our Recession-era, post-Economic bust hangover, making cheaper ads for the digital savvy marketplace will be the way to go. If it can’t be said in 140 characters, is it really worth it? (I totally kid – don’t get me started on short attention spans….)