I've finally figured it out.  I'm not gonna lie though; I've had some help.  After stumbling upon an article titled "The Age of Media Arts," the switch has finally been flipped.  What's the profound discovery?  Consumers have new demands.  In fact, consumer isn't even always the right word to use when talking advertising. There's a new end-user now, and they're called an audience.  What's the difference?  

"A consumer is someone who intends to buy, and audience member is someone who has already paid the price of admission in some way and now, intends to be entertained."  (David Burn - AdPulp)

For those who've been following my blog, it's pretty obvious that I have a strong interest in marketing for the masses - social media, interactive, television, print, video, guerilla, and viral.  I'm an advocate of attention-grabbing, call-to-action, information, communication, and education.  I've never really thought of the thing I'm most interested in though and it's been right in front of my eyes this whole time: Entertainment.

In his article on The Age of Media Arts, Lee Clow, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of TBWA/Worldwide states, "We must stop talking about above the line/below the line and traditional/nontraditional and instead talk passionately about the ideas that invite people to our brands, wherever that may be."  It's not a matter of "getting on Facebook" or "getting on Twitter" it's a matter of matching an audience, to a network, to a medium, to a message, to a creative idea.  

I'm a consumer who loves to find out about new brands.  I'm also an audience member, and I am constantly looking to be entertained.  My blog on "The Alumni Conspiracy" talked about finding ways that my high-school and college will stay connected with me.  Send me videos, links, press releases, news feeds, etc.  Entertain me.  My blog on "Interactive Advertising" talked about grabbing my attention, educating, and informing me, but most importantly entertaining me.  My blog on "The 4th Dimension" asked some of my favorite movie stars and bands to entertain me through videos and social networks.  I could go on and on.  These feelings aren't just mine though. I'm just one of the millions of consumers out there looking for ways to connect.

Why do people like Gatorade ads, Nike ads, Apple ads, and Beer ads?  Because millions of people buy into these products, own these products, and feel strongly about these products.  These products don't need any more attention.  They entertain through celebrity endorsements, sports promotions, visionary direction, and exciting execution.  It's not as big of a risk for these companies because brand awareness is no longer their priority.  They've moved on to bigger and better things now, and all they need to do is entertain.

Just as Mr. Clow states, I think we're at a time where everything a brand creates doesn't have to fall under advertising.  Sure, consumer-based advertising will always be around but the who knows what the future will bring?  One thing is for sure though.  The future will be about the blending  of art and media in traditional and non-traditional ways and agencies will need to focus on finding ways to maintain, sustain, and most importantly, entertain consumers and audience members alike.  

The future is now, are you on board?
10/2/2009 01:51:15 am

I agree with you on the fact that consumers are now the "audience." I want advertisements to catch my eye, and then maybe I'll be interested in the product itself. Apple and Gatorade, two of the companies that you named, have eye-catching (and ear-catching) ads with music and color and a lot of appeal. Other companies need to jump on board and try to appeal to, as you said, the audience rather than the consumer.


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