So We Had This Conversation About The Future of Advertising…

Last night, I participated in an event sponsored by the good people of MIMA–the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association. Truth be told, I was filling in for Matt Howell, Arnold’s Global Chief Digital Officer who himself, was filling in for Andrew Keller, Cripsin Porter & Bogusky’s youthful CEO. Each in turn, had to bail on the commitment, with Matt forced out Sunday evening.  Which I guess makes me the equivalent of human spackling compound.  No matter, it was a hill of fun.

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingThe evening closed this season’s Conversations About The Future of Advertising speaker series which are ably hosted by Tim Brunelle, President of MIMA and CEO of his own company, Hello Viking. Given his last minute scramble, Tim ginned up the notion of pairing a creative guy with a client and so he recruited me and General Mills’ Director of Interactive Marketing Jim Cuene to fill those roles. The space was great, the audience participation was lively and all in all, it was a very cool evening. It also provided a great introduction to the event sponsor MCAD: the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Truth be told, we didn’t really conclude anything about the future, but Jim told some very interesting stories about his client-side experiences in the space. Among other anecdotes, he spoke about the value of iterating multiple creative concepts on line and seeing which ones payoff–an idea very close to my heart. We also spent time talking about the role of filmed content as online placement knocks down the cost of the media. Candidly, this emerging discipline largely motivated my move to Olson: the agency’s community/social anthropology-orientation makes us particularly well-suited to identifying the right people in the right place with a message/experience they’ll find relevant and worthwhile.

That’s particularly important given this ugly reality that YouTube admitted recently: only 30% of their videos generate 99% of their views.  Think about that: less than a third of all their vast years of video content account for nearly all of their views.  That absolutely obliterates the general 80-20 yardstick of the Pareto Principle.

Which ultimately means that the Future of Advertising will not stray far from the way advertising has always operated: the best idea will always win. The freshest creative voice or the most surprising brand experience will continue to earn our hearts and minds far more than the latest technological gimcrackery. Technology provides context but ideas motivate.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

By the way, I did intentionally use the old timey word ‘gimcrack’–we call that ‘irony.’


3 thoughts on “So We Had This Conversation About The Future of Advertising…

  1. Dennis –

    First, thanks for agreeing to step in on such short notice. Second, for being damned astute. Third, for being willing to connect thoughts and share useful insights with people you’d just met. Thank you for your generous spirit!

    – Tim

  2. Sorry for putting you and Tim Brunelle in such a tough predicament, Dennis. I felt (still feel) awful, but couldn’t spring myself from a work emergency. Heard the event went well, would love to have a look at your talk if it’s posted somewhere. Thanks a lot.

    Matt Howell

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