Friday, 24 June 2011

Digital and Traditional Advertising: One and the Same

Digital and Traditional Advertising: One and the Same


In the olden days, advertising campaigns had a digital arm and a traditional arm. The TV spot would be akin to a short skit while the banner ads would replicate the idea with 100,000 pixels or so. The tightest integration would occur on the campaign microsite, where the TV spot could be viewed in a browser. Yes, the advertising industry was vastly different in 2006.

Today, traditional and digital advertising bleed together as core concepts rely on both at the same time. For example, the AXA insurance company came out with a TV spot for the Belgian market earlier this year that requires viewers to scan a QR code with their phones to see the end of the story. Another set of innovative examples came from Google last fall when they partnered with Disney, Diageo, T-Mobile and Delta Airlines to create print ads and movie posters that launched interactive experiences when photographed with Google’s Goggles mobile app.

Music can be used as yet another path to melding digital and traditional advertising. Skol recently placed an audio print ad to promote their Skol Sensation music festival. What is an audio print ad, you ask? A mini-chip inserted in a magazine allows readers to listen to audio by plugging headphones into the spine of the magazine. To further fuse digital and traditional, Skol could have allowed readers to launch an interactive experience by scanning the audio with Shazaam’s music identification app.

Further diminishing the distinction between digital and traditional is the recently released Burger King Whopper Lust DirecTV channel. Taking advantage of DirecTV’s interactive branded channel offerings, Burger King set up channel 111 to air endless footage of a Whopper spinning on a plate of fire. For every five minutes you watch, you get a free Whopper. They verify viewers are remaining engaged by making them respond to occasional messages. What is this? Is it a TV ad? A microsite? Conceptual food art? It’s debatable.

That is a key factor in defining this phenomenon: the category each piece of work falls into is debatable. When the agencies behind these campaigns enter them in awards shows, what category will they submit them to? It’s hard to say. What is certain, however, is that digital and traditional advertising are increasingly becoming the same thing.

Greg Steen, 06.23.2011

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