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Understanding why we shouldn't be advertising on the Web

Paul Ashby pioneered interactive communication to the advertising and marketing communities some twenty-five years ago. The communication issues they address have been neglected during the explosive grown of advertising in the 60s, 70s and 80s, these are: Cognitive Dissonance, Selective Retention and Selective Exposure.

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The Internet is part of a revolution that is causing business a lot of headaches. With its networked communities, based on trust and candour together with a huge contempt for corporate smugness.

The fact of the matter is that assumptions about consumer behaviour never related to how people lived their lives.

However corporate greed is now busily investing huge amounts of money in the Internet; Microsoft $6 billion, Google $3 billion, WPP $650 million, all in the space of a few weeks.

Their return will come through eyeballs, get enough eyeballs, shown them enough advertisements, and that will make nice profits for everybody involved.

In the past this formulae has produced a ton of money. However we have paid a price, it has produced television programming where one programme is indistinguishable from everything else together with a rising blizzard of commercials – called clutter!

Nowadays however we do have a choice, the Internet. And people, you, me and the guy around the corner, having been treated for so long as mere eyeballs, are moving to the Internet in our millions.

We have no loyalty whatsoever to the Old Media, who, together with their handmaidens, The Advertising Agencies, have treated us with contempt, as nothing more than demographics, dehumanising and depersonalising us in their rush to get their hands on all those lovely advertising big bucks!

Initially marketing ignored the net, then they had an awakening, and are now rushing headlong onto the Web thinking that this is the New Medium.

As a result Corporations, ably aided by their minions, the Advertising Agencies, are treating the Internet as a source of a mass market – which it isn't!

Frankly people go on line on their way to going elsewhere, and most people are looking for (dirty) pictures; jokes and the latest home made video joke – they certainly do not want to look at advertisements!

And what do Google and Microsoft and WPP want?

They want to deliver advertising to you – as much as possible because it is worth a bucketload of money to them. The Google, Microsoft, WPP investments represent the ultimate goal of mass Media and mass Marketing, they want to become as big as possible so that they can tie up the mass market! Because all they care about is making more money for their investors.

We must never forget that Mass Media existed to serve the marketing needs of Corporations – the Net was never created for that purpose.

Because Mass Marketing has never, for once, treated the consumer as an individual, and because of this, have practically ruined our perfectly good media system. The needs of advertising agencies are dictating that we neglect a perfectly good media environment and move elsewhere – well advertising is not working now and it will never work on the Web!

So perhaps, for once, Google, Microsoft and WPP have got it all wrong. the internet takes to advertising like a fish out of water!

Sadly however, marketing and advertising executives regard us as fools! For years they have become used to preparing ads, and sponsoring programmes that fit all their pie charts.

But their simplistic formulae's will not replicate on the Web, how do you, after all, sell advertising to billions of sources each with a handful of viewers?

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