Digital must die

Nigel Hollis
Millward Brown

Marketers need to look beyond the metrics and engage with people in their day-to-day lives, warns Nigel Hollis

Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble's global brand building officer, recently proclaimed that digital was dead and urged marketers to look beyond the pipes and plumbing of digital and social media to what really matters: engaging people with creative campaigns1 .

On the one hand, Pritchard is correct to suggest that digital is dead. These days, the division between digital and traditional exists only in the minds of marketers and engineers. Consumers simply see digital as part of their day-to-day lives. On the other hand, the practice of digital advertising lags behind that reality.

Over two billion people now access the internet worldwide – about a third of the global population. Facebook reaches one seventh of the world's population. And in a few years' time, smartphones will ensure that the reach of both is even greater. But the people who use these tools do so in conjunction with all the other aspects of their lives: relaxing, shopping and exploring. So a brand that is encountered online is no less a real-world encounter than when it is seen in a store. Even if we focus on the experience of a single brand campaign, very few people encounter a brand's advertising only in the digital channels. For instance, in a cross-media study conducted for Nestlé's KitKat brand a couple of years ago, we found that only one out of 10 people encountered the campaign in digital channels alone.