One giant leap for web advertising

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On Sunday night I made plans – it was in my calendar with email alerts activated – to sit down and watch the History Channel’s new six-part miniseries entitled “America: The Story of Us.”  I’m not a big TV fan and can’t remember the last time I made an effort to catch something other than a ball game.  The reason I did can be chalked up solely to the power of advertising.

If I am sitting in front of a computer (which is most of the day), there’s a very good chance I’ve got Pandora playing.  This means that, along with some great music, I’ve been hearing the History Channel’s ad for the series several times a day, every day, for the past few weeks.  Though it is not the only ad I hear, it is the only one that inspired me to click through to their website to get all the details.

What made the difference is that the History Channel is using actual voice recordings from famous Americans.  These recordings are instantly recognizable and as a history buff always catch my ear.  Who wouldn’t know it was Neil Armstrong’s voice ringing out from across the galaxy when he took “one small step for man,” or recognize Martin Luther King proclaiming “I have a dream!”

These are some of the most memorable quotations in all of American history and they have left an indelible mark on our collective consciousness.  The Boston Celtics could run the most beautifully designed ad in a newspaper, but it wouldn’t have nearly the same impact for a Celts fan – at least a fan who knows his history – as hearing the gravelly voice of Johnny Most shouting “Havlicek stole the ball!”

Evan said the other day that traditional media is broke.  He is right, and this brokenness is forcing a paradigm shift on the news industry.  As more and more eyeballs move online and to portable devices, print and even broadcast outlets are racing to reach them.  Boston Globe publisher Chris Mayer has said (via Media Nation) that his print publication is striving to capture readers “wherever and whenever the consumer wants – on whatever device they prefer.”

Print advertising is still a good option for many, but web ads – like the one for the History Channel – are better able to incorporate audio and visual cues that grab what little of our attention is left in the constant 24/7/140-character entertainment cycle we all live in.   As the media landscape shifts to new methods and new platforms, every company should consider how they can be more creative in using these new tools to reach their target audiences.

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3 Responses to “One giant leap for web advertising”

  1. Jamie Giller Says:

    What’s interesting to me is that if you listen to Pandora on the iPhone, or use the widget for Windows there are no ads. I’ve only ever used Pandora as a widget and thus far, have never experienced an advertisement.

    It’s odd that within the same company, different platforms/versions of the software run differently.

  2. Everyone loves free ice cream, and four Boston brands know it « EZG Blog Says:

    […] I don’t know what it is called, and I would be hard pressed to even describe it, but it is one of those sounds that I would know anywhere.  I have a Pavlovian reaction, really, since each time I hear it I […]

  3. Everyone loves free ice cream, and four Boston brands know it « BrianKeaney.org Says:

    […] I don’t know what it is called, and I would be hard pressed to even describe it, but it is one of those sounds that I would know anywhere.  I have a Pavlovian reaction, really, since each time I hear it I […]

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