Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Can The Web Make You Cry?

On NPR this week I heard an interesting give-and-take on "Advertising 2.0" themes. Defending "the old ways" was advertising industry icon Phil Dusenberry of BBDO. Dusenberry may be Old School but the guy's still on top of his game; he understands the intrigue, promises and threats of New Media - but remains unconvinced that the Web will unseat conventional broadcast advertising any time soon.

As one of those guys who dig any and all "2.0" themes, I could not help but think that Dusenberry was playing defense, but, one thing he said struck me as interesting. Paraphrasing, he suggested that, "The Web does not pack the emotional whallop of TV."

Before we continue ... time for a Pansy Alert: Ever since I had kids, I have been known to mist-up during those "Reach Out And Touch Someone" ads. (And no more slasher movies for me, either.)

But I can't remember ever having my eyes well-up over anything I've seen online.

When we are online, we are ACTIVE. We are SEARCHING. We are ENGAGED. We are the hunters, on a mission. We are more accepting of unpolished crap, as long as it is useful in some way, because we know we can take what we need and move on quickly. Even if our "mission" is simply to stumble upon something new, online we are always masters of our domain.

When we are flat-out on the couch in front of the toob, we are PASSIVE. We are RECEPTORS. We are OPEN to what comes, but the "price" of our willing surrender is that we expect some quality entertainment.

Online, we are amusing ourselves. We don't expect much (and we ain't gonna cry). Offline, we expect the content provider to do all the work, and to do it well. That's a huge shift in responsibility.

I wonder if this is the realization that they had over at Yahoo? No one wants to watch TV (or TV-style advertisements, for that matter) on the Web, I don't think. Look at StupidVideos for the best-of Web-as-TV. Most of those clips are all of 5 seconds long, and yet if you're like me (and Richard Edelman), you still won't be able to tear yourself away for a good 10 minutes.

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