Forget Re-Naming Rights: New Media Alone Won’t Work Unless It Engages

In meeting after meeting, clients and agency people espouse the virtues of finding or creating new mediums for ad messages.  That’s a classic half-solution: all reaction, no consideration.  Because you don’t break through ad clutter by adding a new format for clutter: that perpetuates the problem.  With the average American experiencing 3,000 ad impressions a day (a five fold increase in just over twenty years), no one can argue that the messages don’t get out–the question is whether they cut through.  And that comes down to engagement.  All that clutter grows boring.

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This Tagger Speaks for a Nation

That’s why the helter-skelter rush for re-naming rights baffles me: my opinion of US Cellular actually dropped when they changed the name of the White Sox’ Comiskey Field.  Nothing about that action felt relevant or engaging to me: in effect, they were demanding that I do something for them, and that’s hardly engaging.

Compare that investment against elevator advertising, where small screens present fun facts or breaking news of the day amidst surrounding sponsor messages.  I can’t tell you how many times I have referenced some bit of trivia picked up from them during a meeting later in the day (“Yeah no kidding; David Cassidy is 58!”).  It may seem like a small thing, but the sponsors of these messages provide something to me, and that creates engagement.

Think of that the next time you consider pasting your ad on a store floor or taking over my cash station screen: are you adding anything for me or is it all about you?   And if it is all about you, how can you change that?

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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