“Rational arguments enclosed in emotional envelopes.”

June 16, 2009 § Leave a comment

Further to some of the thoughts yesterday in this space about the creative shift taking place in the advertising business and its impact on the quality of advertising up for awards at Cannes this year, is the Viewpoint from Hernan Lopez, President of .Fox Networks, in the Global Issue of Advertising Age this week. Lopez calls for a creative revolution in interactive advertising, echoing sentiments already expressed by others such as Randall Rothenberg of the IAB in the U.S.

These are all threads of the same story-line: good creative must come next in New Media. The people require it. The new generation of consumers has made the move to online and advertising must respond with messages that reflect the sophistication of the users and the environment. People are ready and waiting. Old commercials formats are drying-up creatively as attention shifts to new platforms.

Hernan Lopez leans on some of the findings of advertising veterans and researchers, Erwin Ephron and John Philip Jones, to make his points. Both have agreed in their studies over the years that the quality of the creative is the most significant contributor to the success of TV commercials. More recently, Mr. Jones distilled the ingredients of effective advertising down to “rational arguments enclosed in emotional envelopes.”

Creating emotional envelopes is the critical concept here. In a broadcast environment we do it with sight, sound and motion. Online we need to think more like we do in print and use the environment to help create the emotional envelopes.

Lopez laments that we have missed creative opportunities online given our fixation with things like click-through rates. Quite right. Our formative creative years online have been invested in action rates to the detriment of building bridges between our advertising messages and the reason people visit the web. Internet advertising has been lacking emotional context despite being surrounded by it.  

Fortunately, we are gathering ourselves around the need for creative answers. Unfortunately, the answer we are sometimes tempted to give is to make online advertising more like television by relying on video. Video feels like home, I suppose, offering emotional context to those of us in advertising business. But, consumers keep resisting this initiative by communicating through their proxies, the web publishers, that video is disruptive.

In the end, I think we’ll discover that the Internet is not a place for “commercials.” Sight, sound and motion works in the context of television because television is sight, sound and motion. The Internet, on the other hand, is about – well, come to think of it - emotional envelopes. 

We can make a strong new beginning, creatively, by tucking our messages neatly into those.

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