Old ads in new media - Have we come full circle?

Posted By: Peter Edwards - Tuesday, 29 September 2015  |  Comments: 0

Old ads in new media - Have we come full circle?



It’s become a symbol of the 1950s the dad on your favourite TV programme turns around mid-performance to light up, take a drag, exhale smiling and say “I’ll only smoke [insert brand of choice] because of their smooth, smooth flavour”. I’ve never seen the originals, but I’ve seen it parodied a thousand times, by other people who weren’t alive when it happened, from Family Guy to The Truman Show. We laugh at those days when consumers would accept such a blatant plug for a product… But you only have to watch a few of the most popular vlogs on Youtube to see it’s making a big comeback. A product placement in supposedly ‘authentic’ new media is now de rigeur. To the generation raised on vlogs and not Vogue their favourite star endorsing makeup is no more out of place than a full page Chanel ad in the style section.


But what are the other old methods with new life? Which ones never really went anywhere? Our account managers still come back from trade shows with bags full of goodies from branded spanners (thank you commercial vehicle show for a new one there) to the ubiquitous company pen. In fact according to the British Promotional Merchandise Association spend on company merchandise in the UK was nearly £1bn last year.


It’s clear that even in the age of PPC and targeting from big data there is still a lot of value placed in something people will hold in their hands, simply because they do hold it rather than scrolling past. That’s why when Newspapers in their offline form may be in perpetual decline, there is still value in a tangible advert. Access Point’s till receipt adverts continue to be used by everyone from fast food chains, to local councils, taxi firms to opticians. The reason for that is simple; giving your message to the right person in the right way is always the aim. So while 15 pages of inky ads in the back of the local rag may be out-dated, offering someone £5 off their lunch while they’re out shopping is not.


Nothing stays the same forever; the days of advertising on the basis of throw it at the wall and see what sticks (or similar less polite formulations) are in their death throes. But to survive is to adapt, billboards can now adapt to your gender and age, for till receipts you can track promo codes as effectively as you can website conversions. We call it experiential and interactive promotion and it’s changed a lot from the door to door vacuum salesman, but the principle remains the same. Excite people, show them something new, and inspire them.


So, what other ways of advertising are due for a comeback? How do you reinvigorate them? Are any of them terminal? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


There are currently no comments on this blog, be the first to comment!

Add Your Comments

Complete the form below to comment on this blog, all fields are required.