June 10, 2007

Future of Online Advertising kicks off, looks at past

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gregstuart.jpgWith animated bar graphs and pie charts and electronic music, the Future of Online Advertising kicked off Thursday morning. This year was the first FOOA of perhaps more to come. Typically, the first presenter gives an overarching speech about the concepts that are important to the conference, setting the mood for the attentive audience. Alas, this was not the case, as the first presenter, Greg Stuart, formerly of IAB, started off by taking a look at the past.

Filled with clip art, the presentation focused on why 47 percent of online advertising failed, adding up to $112 billion in excess. Stuart suggested an advertising slogan for the industry as a whole: "Half of the money is wasted." Though the slogan may not have enough of a ring to it to slip into a jingle, one may question Stuart's definition of waste. By some standards, defining what advertising is a "waste" can be quite relative. Stuart called for action in the industry by taking responsibility for what is put out and by always asking the question of "what if you're wrong?".

Stuart may be correct in finding that 47 percent of advertising fails, but is there more harm done by injecting fear of being wrong as opposed to just doing it? Stuart stated that he didn't want to take away creativity, but simply wanted to make sure advertising "works". From the presentation, it seems that the veterans of our industry may be more comfortable in playing it safe than pushing the envelope. There is always something to be said for taking a risk and "fucking up" big time, whereas staying safe may be more damaging. If anything is certain, there is no future in fear.

Photos from FOOA and the trip to New York can be viewed here.


Worthwhile keeping an eye on this subject.

I saw this same speach at AdTech Chicago last year. Although a lot of this bears repeating, I was surprised at how old the quotes were. Time to spruce it up a bit.

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