In My View: Events are the superheroes to save this ad-weary world

Always on the lookout for new angles to grow the events slice of the marketing pie, I recently read some fantastic research that we should be doing all we can to exploit to our advantage.

The advertising world is struggling with a conundrum. While the lion's share of ad spend still goes on television and print, many of the people the ads are supposed to reach just aren't looking. According to research last year by Forrester, many people are talking on the phone, listening to the radio, downloading music, surfing the Internet - in fact anything they can think of - while watching television.

And as if this wasn't bad enough for advertisers, many consumers are trying to avoid ads by using pop-up blockers on web browsers and digital video recorders.

American and UK consumers are bombarded with marketing messages every day, so you can't blame them for trying to block a few out. However, it must be irksome for ad agencies. After all, if viewing, reading and listening figures become meaningless, how will they justify massive ad spend?

This also presents a challenge for brand owners.

In an online world where, thanks to the Internet, price transparency is increasing, brand owners must ensure they don't lose out to lower-cost rivals. To do this they have to convey brand values and personality, but how is this done when conventional brand-building tools such as advertising arguably are becoming less effective?

Many big brand owners are already responding to this challenge. For instance, 10 years ago P&G spent around 90% of its advertising on television, but is now spreading its money more widely.

But where should that ad spend be going? One area has to be events. Mobile marketing, point of sale, brand experiences, exhibitions, sponsorship-led event activity, roadshows - you name it - could all help world-weary advertisers reach the increasingly ad-weary consumer.

So before others jump in to get their hands on the budgets, we should pick up the phone to advertisers. Tell them we have a new idea: it's interactive, highly targeted, experiential, reaches distinct groups of like-minded consumers that have 'opted in', is on-brand and measurable ... that should get their attention.


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