Friday, October 30, 2009

Measurability and Creativity

Google has successfully pushed the advertising industry towards a much higher standard of accountability with their performance-based pricing model. It has been a critical factor in their enormous success.

Advertisers spend roughly $150 billion in the US each year and most will tell you they are not really sure what works and doesn’t. By offering advertisers a clear measure of success (only pay when someone clicks), Google is providing some definition to one of the most inefficient marketplaces in history.

Traditional media formats like TV, Radio and Print are now under much greater pressure to prove their value. In a recent issue of The New Yorker, Ken Auletta writes about a 2003 meeting between Mel Karmazan (who was COO of Viacom at the time) and Google’s Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Karmazan was incredulous that Google was creating such a highly measurable system that would starve the media planning and buying process of all creativity and emotion. “You’re fucking with the magic,” he said only half in jest according to Auletta.

There is no doubt that the media buying and planning industry needs to become more accountable and measurable, but not at the expense of it’s creative, emotive, entreprenurial and risk-taking nature.

The industry always has to have a place for people who can come up with ideas like this:

Daffy's Live Movie Theatre Ad: During selected evening showing of "Amelia" at the massive Zigfield Theatre in Manhattan, 10 live dancers took to the stage accompanied by music and images on the screen behind them and performed a 3-minute ad for Daffy's.