OPINION: MORAN ON ... INTERNET ADVERTISING

Is it just me or is most dotcom advertising utter drivel? Dotcom marketers will tell you how refreshing it is to work in an environment where the traditional measures of business are less relevant - you know, small things such as return on investment, cost-benefit calculations and making a profit.

Is it just me or is most dotcom advertising utter drivel? Dotcom

marketers will tell you how refreshing it is to work in an environment

where the traditional measures of business are less relevant - you know,

small things such as return on investment, cost-benefit calculations and

making a profit.



Clearly this new, fuzzy logic must also apply to dotcom communications

strategies. Dotcom launch ads have invaded our screens at a

breathtaking, exponential rate. We’ve seen everything from people in

giant fruit and veg suits (organicsdirect.com) to an alien inviting a

geriatric woman to ’make babies’ (msn.co.uk) to a tea party featuring

live guinea pigs (iceland.co.uk).



What so many dotcom companies share is a great idea for a website and

not the first idea how to communicate it. Enter stage right the

advertising agency suits who have the benefit of received wisdom - all

the way from the USA.



In America, where they know all about the internet, everybody knows the

only way to launch a website is to produce something whacky. That way it

has some chance of standing out among the 8 billion channels.



UK advertising agencies, not normally known for listening to anyone’s

bright ideas other than their own, have on this occasion largely done

the lemming thing - hence all the man-sized carrots and procreating

aliens on our screens. I assume all this has happened because received

wisdom says: ’We’ve got to make a big impact at launch, our funds are

limited, we really need to stand out and so we must make a visually

arresting and slightly or very daft ad.’



The offending dotcom companies that have let themselves be seduced by

agencies have obviously not heard of Moran’s ’opportunity to see’ law,

which goes along the lines of ’every OTS you buy is precious, therefore

why waste it with something incomprehensible when you could use it to

say something about yourself that is interesting and motivating for the

consumer’.



The internet is not whacky and it’s not especially ’fun’. It’s a new

information medium and consumers needs to know why they should visit a

particular site and what makes it unique. If these sound like

traditional issues for consideration when creating the ingredients of an

effective commercial, that’s because they are.



The most effective dotcom ad should only need one OTS for the

(internet-wired) viewer to see it, understand the site and what it can

do. If you can inject humour, good, but it should not be mandatory.



Some ads that hit the spot in my opinion are ask.co.uk (Jeeves the

butler knows the answers to all your questions), stepstone.co.uk

(building your career online) and BBC online (celebrities tell us what

can be found at the beeb online). All are simple, effective and very

clear.



The internet may be a brave new world for dotcom marketers but they

would do well to look to their more experienced forefathers for help

with their communication strategies.



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