Archive for April, 2010

iLike iAd

Prophesied technocool stuff that has never been realized:

  1. interactive TV
  2. (useful) home automation and Rosie robot helpers
  3. flying cars (I’m really mad about that one)
  4. effective mobile phone advertising

How long have we marketers been promised an advertising revolution wherein we’ll be able to deliver a timely, location-based, and interactive advertisement in our micro-target’s very hand?  Ten years at least.  Well, I may have finally seen its coming with iAd.


I read Engadget’s live blog from Apple’s iPhone OS 4 event.  Among the many new features, iAd stood out.  In short, it creates a capability to embed ads in iPhone apps.  As shown, the ad shows up like a banner on a website, but when you “click” (touch) it, it runs within the app instead of taking you out to a website.  And very importantly, it allows the ad to tap into the iPhone OS/functions.

They demoed a Toy Story 3 iAd, with video and sound, with a location aware map of where you can see the movie, with games, with ticket purchase, etc., all within the ad.  Wow!  But very importantly, Steve said, “You know the ads on the web — they’re eye catching and interactive, but they don’t deliver emotion. What we want to do with iAds is deliver interaction and emotion.”

This is a two-cheek leather glove slap across Google’s face…and a ray of light for us BRAND marketers.  Yes, I will say it:  I want to create brands people desire, not merely “generate demand” (leads) with pay-per-click mathematics.  Why?  Because desire creates margin.  Affinity sustains advantage.

I’m working with a client to use AdWords to test targeting factors and conversion.  Clicks in their category are $6.81!  This is because Google has created an efficient market for intercepting prospects searching on terms related to advertisers’ offerings; and some categories are crowded.  The bummer is that one spends $6.81 to get a prospect to one’s site, and that visitor comes in with no brand image whatsoever.  This is not demand generation – it is click generation.

Google’s AdWords is an awesome invention, and is one of the most useful tools in marketing.  But it has no soul.  It deploys barely formatable text links, fed by a sophisticated auction and optimization algorithm.  If you want to emphasize something, you can use an exclamation point or the word “very.”  People who master the technique have set up successful services to sell PPC modeling and execution, but I think they may soon be replaced by robots.  I recall a futurist’s comments some years back: “If your job can be reduced to an algorithm, you will eventually be replaced by a computer.  You can either be the one to write the algorithm, or you should train for a different job.”

I hear Steve Jobs is tough to get along with, and opposes the enlightened forces of Openness.  But he understands better than most how to build desire and affinity through emotion.  The ad agencies with top creative talent must be rejoicing over the advent of iAd — and the certainty of competitive offerings — because they know how to use emotion to create brand affinity (which iAds enable).  Just like Google did in their Superbowl television commercial (with sound and movement)!

And for app developers, this is a boon, as Apple (which will sell the ad space), will share 60% of the ad revenue with the developers.  Even the software devs may come to appreciate brand marketing.  OK, that may be a little Pollyannaish.