INTERACTIVE: NEW-MEDIA CLINIC; Why client ignorance is behind the struggle to become interactive

As a renowned new-media expert and faker, people often ask me: ‘Is it already too late to make a mark in the fast-developing creative maelstrom that is interactive advertising?’ Generally, my reply is: ‘Yes - get out of my way’, because the last thing I need is another huckster beating me to market with a patchily implemented, semi-obvious idea that he or she will then flog to a client with more money and techno-paranoia than sense. No, that’s my job.

As a renowned new-media expert and faker, people often ask me: ‘Is it

already too late to make a mark in the fast-developing creative

maelstrom that is interactive advertising?’ Generally, my reply is:

‘Yes - get out of my way’, because the last thing I need is another

huckster beating me to market with a patchily implemented, semi-obvious

idea that he or she will then flog to a client with more money and

techno-paranoia than sense. No, that’s my job.



Truthfully, though, there is plenty of room. Currently, you only need to

know half a jack about computers to join the new-media crowd. My lady

who does for me could turn a packet as a multimedia consultant these

days. She already administers my Internet site.



The thing is, it doesn’t matter how bad you are because the client will

never find out. Everyone who understands the Net, CD-Roms, computers,

and so on, is now trying to make a buck out of it. And those who are

paying these people are doing it so they don’t have to understand any of

it themselves.



They have a background in PR, are ‘not very technical’ and feel

Weekending is often very funny indeed. Computers are not their thing,

they say.



If they were, perhaps they’d discover that the ‘innovative hyper-linking

feature’ that their Net ad site boasts is pretty ubiquitous on the World

Wide Web. Or that the site’s ‘full-screen, colour ad spread,’ takes the

average punter 12 hours to download via a modem. Or the ‘simple user

registration’’ that their Web team pitched to them as an instant

mailing-list accumulator actually dissuades people from ever reading

their copy. Or that the ‘groundbreaking audio-visual CD-Rom’ they put on

every magazine in the country last month was suspiciously similar to

every other bog-standard, macro-media, director-written pile of art

student rubbish you find on this rich, thick, creamy gravy train we call

interactive. I’ve seen every one of these scams in new-media pitches,

and they are swallowed every time.



Look, the mechanics of car maintenance are not my thing either, but that

doesn’t mean I splash out on 4,000 Skodas for my company and then ride a

horse to work. And then you ask these people why they don’t spend more

time online, in front of their PC, and they’ll say: ‘Well, 90 per cent

of it is rubbish, isn’t it?’



You should know, you’re commissioning it.



Dan O’Brien is a new-media consultant.E-Mail: danny@cityscape.co.uk



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