May 07, 2002

ClickZ: Seana Mulcahy on Advertising and Blogs

Could this be the future of blogging?

Blogging isn't widely used, accepted, or provided by companies to employees. The technology would be an excellent forum for workplace communication. Quite often, my clients are trying to target the at-work audience. This would be a perfect fit. Not only would it be a great way to brand or promote products and services online, it would also allow advertisers to gain planning insight. Have you ever watched postings on an online bulletin board or lurked in a chat room? It's amazing what you can find out about people's interests, needs, problems, and attitudes toward a brand.

Many pundits strongly disagree. They believe blogging is built on trust. I agree. They think promoting a mobile phone or airline tickets or soft drinks on a blog would be horribly wrong. That's where I say, "Give me a break."

Open a newspaper, use the remote control on a TV, flip through a magazine, listen to the radio. What are you surrounded with? Advertising, of course. Perhaps these cynics want to protect and preserve the untouched atmosphere. I respect their opinion.

But I still say, "Why not slap an ad on it?"

There are many things that just don't jive here and is typical of what is so prevalent in advertising today. If it moves, "slap an ad on it."

First, I don't think advertising and blogs mix. I said it below, and I'll say it again. Seana treats blogging as an unusually effective outlet for advertisers. I don't get this. Why is a blog a better place to slap an ad? To me, its just another place -- if not, a worse place. When a real voice is juxtaposed against advertising, the real voice wins and the advertising loses.

I don't really consider myself a pundit. I'm in advertising just like Seana. But I don't think "promoting a mobile phone or airline tickets or soft drinks on a blog would be horribly wrong," I think it would be horribly ineffective. Why would it work? I can appreciate the use of blogging for planners -- to gain insight into customers -- But that's different than slapping an ad on it.

That's not how you use the web in business. You talk with. Not talk at.

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