Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Advertising like the olden days

I've just been reading an article in the Huffington Post about advertising and Second Life. I get the impression that Huffington readers aren't really into SL. The author of the article can't quite believe that advertisers are taking Second Life seriously as a platform.

But the article then went on to highlight a quote from Philip Rosedale, the CEO of Linden Labs on the topic of advertising....

Second Life is different than the real world because of the marginal cost of making [advertising] bigger. If you buy billboard space (in the real world), there's an ability to impose online advertising on people that is pretty leveraged. That amount of leverage does not exist in Second Life because people are in control of their own attention. You don't have to sit and listen to beer ads. On the flip side is that what many advertisers are doing in Second Life are way more interesting than what they're doing in reality. They'll consume happily because of the sheer novelty.

Huffington's take on this is that SL is a good place to buy advertising because the residents of SL are more receptive because they are given a choice of whether or not to view the ad.

Actually, it demonstrates why Advertisers in SL have to be more creative than they are currently in RL. Putting your message in front of consumers has become too easy with modern media - it is simple to create popup adverts on web pages, or put commercials in the middle of TV programmes. In SL, the user is able to choose whether or not to go and view an advertiser's site.... a bit like in the olden days when the only medium available to an advertiser was a poster or billboard.

Think back a hundred years or less, and shopkeepers had to make their stores attractive enough to draw in the customer (note: Customer and not "consumer"), and then offer a level of service that would retain their attention. Now compare this with the modern world where "consumers" have "messages" rammed down their throats at every turn.

So, paradoxically, the latest modern media (3d Metaverses) are taking us back to the good old days when adverts had to be novel and creative, and shopkeepers had to offer good service!

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