Necessity is the mother of invention. But when you take away necessity, do you still invent? For the sake of creativity in interactive advertising, I hope so.
Digital advertising is on an incredible upswing. Quarter after quarter, advertiser investments in interactive media are reaching new heights. Part of this growth is a result of our being on the cusp of solving how to bring scale to creativity.
The Internet was born as a direct response channel, one where marketing science and the mission to earn clicks displaced storytelling. But broadband and cheap computing power opened up the potential for creativity. New ad formats developed and promoted by the IAB give us easier ways to scale, opening up the potential for greater investment in engaging content.
And the IAB just reported new numbers showing a record $9.6 billion of advertiser spending on the media in the first quarter of the year.
It’s all promising. But we’re at an interesting crossroads. Will these new digital scale opportunities take us down the path of offline advertising, where only a small sliver of the work really engages and excites, because broad, cheap reach relieves the pressure for creativity?
Or will we see a new golden age of creativity in the digital space?
For the Mezamashii Run Project for Mizuno USA, we had less than 1% share of category spend to work with. Those constraints forced us to innovate. If we had $50 million to spend, how would our solution have been different? I would like to think we would have built as compelling and innovative a program. But that is the question facing us as the Web becomes a truly mass medium.
This year, I’m fortunate to be the Jury Chair of the IAB MIXX Awards. As I assess the multitude of entries and drive debate among the judges, invention will be top of mind. For me the most interesting category will be the new “Can’t Be Contained” group where I hope that we will see ideas that literally change our perception of the boundaries among advertising, product design and brand behaviours. In every category I want to see what hasn’t been done before – as well as what has never been done as well.
I am also going to be thinking about scaling through sharing. Which ideas area compelling enough that they ignite and amplify talk about brands?
The digital world vastly expands the range of options we have to allow brands to behave in compelling new ways. I’m going to use my role at the 2013 IAB MIXX Awards to help set the bar even higher on creativity. Let’s make that the new necessity that drives invention.
Brad Brinegar is the chairman and CEO of McKinney.
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