I was thinking about how my media consumption has changed recently. Much has been written about the subject, and I’ve definitely changed my media consumption over the years. Here’s what has drastically changed:
Podcasts, not radio: I am a heavy podcast consumer (see my podcast listening lineup for 2010). I rarely listen to the radio, even though I appear on it sometimes.
All news online and via mobile: My main news channels are RSS feeds via Google Reader. Ads rarely get through and when I go to a blog, I mentally block out all ads. I can’t recall a single banner ad I’ve ever seen. I’ve never consciously clicked on an online ad. I can’t remember the last time I purchased a print newspaper.
TiVo is my friend: I never watch TV live. I always watch pre-recorded shows and zip through commercials. The only live TV I watch is sports, but that’s starting to time shift as I’m watching the Colts and Jets play right now but I’m about 20 minutes behind so I can zip through most of the commercials.
I’m sure most of you reading this blog have similar stories of shifts in media consumption. And it got me to start thinking, if a company does want to reach me and people like me through traditional media, where can they go? What is the one area of traditional advertising that hasn’t been affected by the Internet and social media? The only answer I could come up with is outdoor.
Unlike other forms of interstitial advertising, there’s no way to avoid outdoor ads
As I’m waiting for the bus, driving my car, or sitting on public transit, I can’t not look at the advertising. It’s actually something to do. I can’t look at the people. You know what happens if you make direct eye contact with anyone on the bus? They’ll think you’re coming on to them or you’re a psychotic killer. Isn’t that everyone who rides the bus?
Zynga, the online and mobile app developers, has purchased a whole series of billboards up and down 101 from San Francisco to San Jose. Initially to promote their applications, but now they’re being used billboards as a hiring tool, promoting the web address zynga.com/jobs on the giant billboards.
There is a seemingly endless inventory with all other forms of advertising: print, radio, TV, and online. Conversely, there are a limited number of roads. And more to that point, we have the Highway Beautification Act which prevents highways from being overloaded with billboards. It’s an important law that prevents our roads looking like a NASCAR event or the end of the movie “Brazil.” There’s a reason there’s only one Times Square and only one Las Vegas. We don’t want to be swimming in ads.
What traditional advertising options are left for brands?
Effective easy to buy traditional advertising options are starting to get slimmer and slimmer. What’s left?
- Beyond outdoor, are there any other avenues?
- How can advertisers make the most of outdoor? Is it implementing web addresses, social networking addresses, or QR codes (2D barcodes) into outdoor ads?
- What are effective means to initiate a relationship through outdoor and then continue it online? Outdoor and online both have their pluses and minuses. How can their strengths and weaknesses play together?
Ultimately, I see outdoor’s place as being the only unaffected traditional media outlet that can effectively launch social media conversations.
Photo by stuckincustoms published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 licenseDavid Spark, a partner in Socialmedia.biz, helps businesses grow by developing thought leadership through storytelling and covering live events. Contact David by email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.