The Future of Advertising

It’s got to be tough being in the advertising business these days. DVRs (digital video recorders) are allowing viewers to skip commercials, premium channels offer fewer advertising opportunities, circulation numbers for print publications continue to spiral downwards, and research shows that most users avoid anything that looks like a banner ad on a Web page.

Ugh, so what’s an advertiser to do?

This morning, I had the pleasure of seeing Dave Nelsen, President of Dialog, talk about social media for business.  While discussing YouTube, Dave showed us a video that he called “the future of advertising.”  The T-Mobile Dance is a 2:41 minute video of commuters at Liverpool Station in England dancing their hearts out.  As more and more people join in, onlookers snap photos, take video and share the experience with their friends through their T-Mobile phones, of course.

Dave made the point that this video represents the future of advertising because:

  • The company got me to willingly watch a loooong ad. This would never happen on TV!
  • Because YouTube allows comments, over 16,000 people have commented on this video, creating incredible buzz and feedback for the company.
  • The video was so successful that T-Mobile created a YouTube channel for its “Life’s for Sharing” campaign.  Fans can even create their own videos and T-Mobile posts the best of the bunch.  There’s a video of a Korean baby singing Hey Jude and a singer jamming from atop a bus. How’s that for a user-generated content strategy?

And it’s not just large companies that are using YouTube to promote their products. My 5-year old son eagerly watches what are essentially product ads from a company called Trains Galore on their YouTube Channel. My husband Maki loves the YouTube channel of Ten-Tec, Inc., a manufacturer of high quality radio equipment for amateur radio operators.

These small retailers likely don’t have big budgets for advertising, but they have clearly found a following on YouTube.  This video advertising wooden Thomas the Tank Engine trains has gotten nearly 300,000 views and 50 comments!

All of this is not to say that the future of advertising is YouTube.  But YouTube represents an incredibly flexible way that companies are promoting their products through inspired creative, a viral strategy, and a user-generate content strategy.

How about you?  How are you using social media to promote your company?  What’s your YouTube strategy?

4 thoughts on “The Future of Advertising

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  3. Joanna,

    Thanks for the shout-out and positive feedback. You and your team are clearly at the forefront of the social media revolution and what I call “the new marketing” (not your father’s marketing). Social media enables a many-to-many conversation; that conversation accelerates learning (on both sides) and builds trust; learning leads to better products; trust leads to sales.


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