Ad Agencies Build Infrastructure to Shift Traditional Marketing Dollars Online

February 20, 2009

The Wall Street Journal reports that WPP-owned advertising agencies are pursuing broader Internet advertising strategies in response to the economic downturn. WPP’s Mediaedge unit is developing increasingly complex Web sites that include interactive features such as online games, and Mediaedge is integrating these efforts with traditional advertising. For example, a series of 10-second television advertisements are designed to push viewers to a Unilever deodorant micro-site.

This article speaks to a few relevant points:

  1. Change accelerates in a downturn. As managers review budgets and contemplate cuts, they are forced to think more creatively about how they allocate resources. When a manager must review the budget line-by-line, the relative return of a micro-sites (thousands of dollars) versus a magazine advertising campaign (millions of dollars) is apparent.
  2. Invest in innovation, particularly in a downturn. WPP is the best of the best. The advertising conglomerate, founded by Sir Martin Sorrell, is the world’s largest communications services group. They are continuing to invest in innovation, not in spite of the recession, but because of it! They have recently purchased a virtual reality research group. Why?? It isn’t part of their core business. It isn’t going to immediately increase profitability. But it is going to keep them innovating and thinking about how to leverage new technologies on behalf of their clients.
  3. New mediums demand richer content. Great advertising campaigns were centered on a single 30-second advertisement in 1990. Not any longer. There are too many platforms (which all feature different strengths) to get the same mileage out of a single short piece of creative. Traditional content shouldn’t just be repackaged for the phone or the web--it should be rethought. How can it be made more interactive? How can it engage consumers for longer? Content that captures consumer interest will deliver better return on investment. To “turn shoppers into buyers” you must engage them, integrate different mediums and deepen consumer engagement.

Leave the first comment