Madison Avenue vs. an Algorhythm – Are Those Our Only Choices?

Scott Karp discusses the awakening of Madison Avenue to the potential of the web in a recent post entitled The Future of Online Advertising: Entertainment vs Information. In it Scott profiles a really awful ad execution for a Toyota Matrix campaign and contrasts that with useful information found on the other side of a click from a Google search result.

I like Karp’s blog a great deal and respect his intelligence and perspective on the media marketplace but I feel this post really over simplifies the “future of Online Advertising” through the selection of these two campaigns. As isolated cases, the user experience and value (or lack thereof) are pretty evident. But these are two examples picked to support a point. What if you wanted to raise awareness of a car model, perhaps inspire conversations around the topic? Would a keyword buy do that?  I don’t think so.  Advertisers need to use the right tool for the job.  Keyword buys are great at harvesting demand but they rarely create demand.  That’s just why BMW did with a sponsored a recent content with Graffiti as part of the campaign that  launched the BMW 1 series.  This execution stimulated thousands of face to face and online conversations as a result.  Did some of those conversations prompt people to search for BMW 1 series?  You bet.

Just like text link advertising shouldn’t be dismissed with every bad execution


Neither should a bad ad campaign be used to throw out Madison Avenue, Online Advertising, or Entertaining Ads.

Ad creative executives will have to work harder however. It isn’t enough to make someone smile at the end of a 30 second clip it is about using tools that serve their customer base.  That toolbox is getting richer and more diverse.

1 Response to “Madison Avenue vs. an Algorhythm – Are Those Our Only Choices?”

  1. 1 Chas Edwards May 3, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Pete–Another favorite from a file I call “humans v. bots” is Kraft’s video sponsorship of NBC’s online properties, including the sex advice videos at iVillage. Oscar Mayer spots ran next to some content that made me laugh, though I’m not sure the brand managers would have the same experience! Here’s the link:

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