Bob Hoffman's talk at Advertising Week Europe has generated a super-fun controversy.
A commenter on Campaign Brief opines: "So glad this is out there. Sick of the so called 'social specialists' in the agency talking shit the entire time."
Whereas my old colleague Carl Moggridge describes Bob (via Twitter) as "The world's most jaded and deluded adman," and points out that Bob's speech, which largely praises TV and derides online, was sponsored by the UK's largest free-to-air TV broadcaster.
The comments I've seen on the various ad blogs seem mostly to be on Bob's side, in a ratio of about 5 to 1.
And yet a lot of those commenters are angry.
Yes, there's a lot of bullshit spoken about social. And I applaud Bob for calling it out. But my question is - rather than being angry about the rampant rise of the online world, would it not be more interesting to consider what the old world can learn from the new?
So here goes, with 3 things TV can learn from social media.
1) Social media campaigns are short
When a cancer charity asks people to post a 'no make-up selfie', it asks them to do it once. Not six times. And the whole campaign is around for about a week, not six weeks. And yet media buyers insist that people need to see a TV ad multiple times. And that a TV campaign must last for weeks. Is that really necessary? If it's impactful enough, do people need to see it multiple times? Would it not be better to invest in different executions, rather than hitting people over the head with the same one, again and again?
2) Social media campaigns get people to do something
It's well-known that getting people to do something makes them more likely to buy. That's why vacuum cleaner salespeople are so keen for you to have a go yourself. And yet 95% of TV ads are nothing but one-way messages. Please note I'm not saying that every ad needs to urge people to enter a competition, or go to a website. It just doesn't need to be a closed loop. It could ask questions, or make people think. Rather than just broadcasting at them.
3) Social media campaigns are light-hearted
Marketers have quickly worked out that to get engagement online, you have to do something funny, interesting, or quirky. Because that's what people respond to. And yet when it comes to TV, that learning seems to go out of the window. There's a belief that it's okay to broadcast ads which are wall-to-wall product benefit, testimonials, or rational sales messages. It's not. Just because you're paying to send someone a message, doesn't mean they'll respond well to it.
Despite Bob's assault on it, the internet is not going away. But nor is TV. So wouldn't it be great if the two sides could play nicely, and see what they can learn from each other?