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The Context of Advertising

Trends and Insight 225 Add to collection

Innocean Worldwide Canada's chief operating officer, Norman Melamed, discusses the importance of advertising's means of consumption

The Context of Advertising

I recently read a book by the art critic Martin Gayford titled 'The Pursuit of Art'.

Martin recounts his journeys around the world to meet artists and view art in situ. He makes the case that a full appreciation of art requires one to both understand the way the artist approaches and thinks about their art, and the importance of seeing the work in person, as opposed to reproduction.

This got me thinking about Marshall McLuhan’s famous dictum, 'The Medium is the Message.'

Marshall observed that while content is important, the means of consumption of that message has an equal impact.

In this digital age, we now have more means of consuming content than ever before. We access content through multiple devices/screens, when we want and where we want. We are no longer time bound to broadcast or place bound to see or read it.

Let’s take movies as an example. Previously our access was first and foremost the cinema screen. Later it became tapes/discs. With the advent of streaming services, our consumption choices have been liberated. Netflix not only provides access to a vast range of content, but now actually creates content (eg. Martin Scorcese’s 'The Irishmen'). The question of whether it is best to see it on the cinema screen or in the comfort of your own home raises interesting questions of the nature of the experience. Size of screen, absence of the shared communal experience of the cinema, even the ability to pause at your convenience (which can be handy with a three-hour movie), have a significant impact on the viewing experience.

Back to advertising, in the digital realm we have to think about such things as placement in social media environments (eg. Facebook, Twitter...) and how programmatic ad buying affects ad placement (including fundamental questions around things like brand security). With Mass Media we exerted much greater control over ad placement (eg. spot buying) and adjacencies (eg. which section of the newspaper?). In the new media world, we can put guardrails on our buying, but buying is highly focused on optimisation and efficiencies.

All this to ask ourselves, is where and when we encounter messaging as important as the actual content of the messaging we are consuming? Martin and Marshall would suggest, absolutely.

Norman Melamed is COO at Innocean Worldwide Canada. 

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Innocean Worldwide Canada, Tue, 28 Jan 2020 18:50:04 GMT