Is it advertising vs. social, or advertising plus social?


Edward Boches, the chief social media revolutionary in residence at agency Mullen, has once again posted slides suggesting consumers have radically changed the power structure of advertising since now they want to create and share, not listen. The concepts are intelligent yet we think Edward takes his logic too far, so we disagreed via this response.

Provoking. I couldn’t hear your voiceover (wish I could), so I do have one quibble: Is advertising communication vs. customer engagement really an either-or proposition? You say in these slides that customers don’t want to receive ads, instead they want to engage, yet Mullen’s own successful Brand Bowl forums show how much customers do enjoy receiving ads… and then a fraction of them talk about them.

Put another way, communications should fit the ecosystem reflecting how consumers behave. As Wired co-author Kevin Kelly recently noted, the vast majority of media consumption today remains television, with wired/mobile/social media usage only a fraction of that time. This is not to suggest that social networking or consumer co-creation isn’t powerful and potentially more effective … but marketers sipping this Kool-Aid should remember that all media channels work together.

My belief is humans have three fields of personal space that drive our communication, dating back to cave men. Distance fields 10 feet+ (camp fires, TV, movies); work fields 2-3 feet (hammers, saws, laptop screens, tablets), and intimate fields (whispers in your ear, mobile). Social fits very well into our personal fields No. 2 and 3, but we have an innate need to lean back and listen to stories from afar as well. Advertising and social work together to fit both needs. It is a mistake, however, to assume that one need has supplanted the other.

Image: Tueksta

2 thoughts on “Is it advertising vs. social, or advertising plus social?

  1. Like the concept of three fields of personal space. This versus some of the public space, less intimate marketing, such as billboards or station domination formats one can find in any big city of the world. Personal and public all work together in a unique ecosystem depending on audience and business need.

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