More on Evolution of Advertising

"I wasn’t impressed. See, a customer who actually flew the airline – and had a bad experience – made more of an impression on me than a series of (undoubtedly highly expensive) paid ads. (I would add that I’ve flown on Delta occasionally without problems, but that’s beside the point.)"

There’s nothing new here, but it did cause me to think of a recent restaurant experience. We went to dinner at Mantra in Palo Alto on Saturday night and proudly displayed was a poster highlighting Mantra being a Chronicle "top 100 Bay Area restaurant".

As we were sitting there having a cocktail I was quietly thinking to myself "so what? I really don’t care what the Chronicle says about a restaurant, I’m more interested in what Yelp or Citysearch has to say in the ‘people like me’ reviews". Why OpenTable doesn’t have user reviews is about as big a missed opportunity as I can imagine.

The real backstory here is not about restaurant reviews but rather how newspaper publishers no longer have a lock on telling us what is good and what is not. Witness the demise of movie critics, once the staple of movie trailer advertising, or perhaps the once mighty NYTimes bestseller list. If I am curious about a book I am more likely to go the the Amazon bestsellers list because there I can get reviews from people who have read (or claimed to have read?) a particular book.

How does advertising embrace user generated content? One technique seems pretty obvious, banner ads and search engines should have a flyover that highlights blog posts that are, ideally, favorable to the thing being advertised.

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4 thoughts on More on Evolution of Advertising

  1. Jeff,

    Great points. I think that the NYT should embrace the user reviews of Amazon, but do it in a more intelligent way. NYT could easily implement a more interactive bestseller list and likely even get authors to respond to some of the comments.

    My issue with Amazon is that many of the reviews are written by unintelligent people – the NYT demographic could leverage an upper-hand there

  2. Pingback Confessions of a Wino » Blog Archive » Online Restaurant Reviews
  3. I think that the “evolution” of advertising has to do with the evolution of popular media. Newspapers are a dying breed and fewer and fewer people read them. If one were to take a poll of the MySpace generation, I imagine very few would have ever picked up a copy of the Grey Lady. Likewise I imagine very few would never have ordered anything from

    The internet has opened up doors for regular people to voice their opinion, and while a great deal of it is twaddle, there is also a great deal that we find useful. You won’t see peer reviews in newspapers because it is a medium that simply can’t do it.

  4. Actually I disagree. While it’s clear that newspapers and other forms of print media have their challenges, this has little to do with access or distribution. Saying the Myspace generation doesn’t pick up newspapers is stating the obvious, but how many myspacers have landed on the NYT’s web site, even inadvertently, and is the barrier for the NYT’s online efforts so steep as to be insurmountable? I don’t think so.

    It’s more subtle than that, this issue is rooted in something that David Edelman wrote about in his seminal Me2 Revolution essay:

    Advertising is inherently about trust and that trust is increasingly likely to be conveyed on people we don’t know and who don’t have media brands behind them. In other words, I’m more likely to trust a collection of hotel reviews on TripAdvisor than I am Conde Naste. Why? I don’t know but perhaps the absence of a vested interest in a particular industry is one reason.

    There’s also a social dimension to media that is a consequence of blogs and other forms of user generated content and here MSM is simply missing the boat, and the entire harbor for that matter.

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