Monday, January 16, 2006

Advertising has to play the relationship game too

It is said that one of the strengths of Public relations is that it has an approach that depends on third party acceptance and endorsement. Thus a press release provides the background needed by a journalist to make a story and thereby offers an 'unbiased' report to readers.

Other forms of PR are similar and depend on this 'two-step' communication process.

Advertising, on the other hand, was much more blunt and presented brand 'messages' in paid for slots.

But this is changing. The idea of placing brand and brand message is now riding on the back of relationships. It is not new in concept but today is exposed to a wider range of critical activists.

As people go to areas of the internet and mobile telephony for information, they are faced with brand exposure advertisements.

Google's Adsence is an example and Google is experimenting with plotting local advertisers' locations on its Maps product, giving marketers a visual and spatial accompaniment to their locally targeted ads.

Brand advertising on userpics - avatar-like images on many blogging sites that provide a tiny (100x100 pixels) window for expression of user's “individuality” is another form of advertising using communities to spread the b rand message.

Film publishers offer skins for Narnia, Corpse Bride, Batman Begins and Troy among others that seem to be commissioned by the studios. Pepsi and Powerade seem use the technique. Most of other branded skins - very good ones, too - are made by fans. There are skins styled after iPod nano, Pioneer, Sony, Puma, Pizza Hut, Nokia.

This means that for modern advertising to work it has to be evident among interacting communities.

At the same time the conversations in these communities, each of which give a licence to users as well as commercial entities to participate, are being interrupted by the advertising.

If you upset such communities that take away the licence and, often, savagely. This would result in a failure to lever wealth through relationships where there are many values beside marketing demands at stake.

It would be good for the advertising communities to take some advice from PR colleagues before going to far down this route because, as we have seen so often in the past, it can hack-off the consumers really quickly.

Picture: Chronicles of Narnia's