Ask so-called and often self-styled “new media gurus” their opinion of the role of the new media versus the old and you can guarantee yourself a short nap as they drone on with carefully chosen and frequently deployed techno-babble. At the end of it all, ask yourself what you have learnt. Apart from the art of boring someone rigid, you’ll be lucky to come up with much else.
But beyond the techno-boredom and hype, interactive communications surely represent an astonishing departure for all of us. We now have the ability to deliver diverse sensory inputs such as sound, image, text and animation simultaneously, and in a manner that allows the recipient to control the dosage and direction. Hollywood, watch out!
But the possibilities of exploiting such an immensely powerful medium concern those media gatekeepers with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Therefore they advise their clients: “Let’s wait and see”, or, “why not set up a Website”, or worse still, “why not invest in researching this whole area”?
Did the pioneers of television spend their efforts in research or did they just seize the moment? If successful marketing is driven by any single aspect, it’s surely timing. In other words, “snooze and you loose”.
New media platforms – computer games and CD-Roms as well as the Web – are offering a range of uses including entertainment, education and consumer or business information. They also offer a chance for marketers to influence the hearts and minds of their audiences.
But these are interactive communication channels in which the user, our consumer, decides to be immersed or not.
Sorry adland, but this also means we cannot rely on traditional skills, or even the traditional human resources to win brands an effective presence in the interactive arena. New media obeys different rules.
But advertisers can now gain from a new wave of craftsmen emerging in this sector. They can become the media owners and drive the content for this burgeoning sector.