On The Warc Blog: digital and Google

12 February 2010

LONDON/WASHINGTON: The impact of digital media, pretesting and the broader role of social networks were among the subjects featuring on The Warc Blog in the last week.

Peter Field, a marketing consultant, has previously analysed the weaknesses of pre-testing when it comes to identifying the most effective advertising campaigns.

In a new post on this subject, he reassessed the data from more than 120 case studies, and discovered that "non pre-tested campaigns are around 1.6 times as likely to achieve top-box profit growth as pre-tested campaigns."

Paul Feldwick, a regular columnist for Admap, argued that new media has not changed the role of advertising as much as it may first appear.

Feldwick suggested that the prevailing view among commentators is that "the new generation of consumers is sceptical, 'empowered', and no longer susceptible to advertising as we have known it."

However, the fact young people still watch a substantial amount of TV, buy expertly-marketed goods like the iPod, and have responded in large numbers to a campaign from Comparethemarket, show not everything has changed.

More specifically, "yesterday's consumers" were no more open to the influence of advertising than their modern counterparts, and similarly relied on a range of tools from marketing to word-of-mouth.

"The internet has created new channels through which all this happens. But it has not made the old channels obsolete ... I have seen no evidence that anything has changed the fundamental psychology of brand choice," Feldwick concluded.

Google is one company that has defined the digital age to date, and Waqar Riaz, a strategist at Rapp London, asserted that it could provide planners with a useful model when utilising this medium.

The Mountain View-based firm is also attempting to make more of an impact in the social networking space occupied by Facebook and Twitter.

However, as Dan Calladine, head of media futures at Isobar Global, reported, its latest offering, called Google Buzz, may fall short of achieving this goal.

More broadly, Eugene Yiga, of Synovate Laboratories, warned that brands and web users are both at risk of over-emphasising the communal nature of these kinds of services.

"The social networking craze seems to be more about reaffirming ourselves than about connecting with other people," he said.

"Technology may profess to be bringing us closer together, but one of the things its doing .... is tearing us further apart. We're forgetting what it's like to interact with each other on an organic level."

Data sourced from Warc