The Ad Contrarian & The Cost of Being First

Early this morning I read a post by @DigitalTonto on Twitter and I happened to know about The Ad Contrarian and The Cost of Being First, a really interesting article by Bob Hoffman, ceo of Hoffman/Lewis advertising in San Francisco and St. Louis. Bob is former ceo of MOJO USA and ex-president and creative director of Allen & Dorward. He is the author of the book The Ad Contrarian and the blog with the same name.

And here, with the permission of Bob Hoffman, an excerpt of the above mentioned article:

What was the first company to do a banner ad? Who was first with an iAd? Who had the first YouTube video channel? What company had the first website, or Twitter feed, or Facebook page?

Nobody knows and nobody cares.

There are some areas of business in which being first can mean the difference between life and death. Advertising is not one of them.

While everyone wants to say they are at the “leading edge” of digital media technology, it seems to me that there is little or no advantage to it. In fact, with so many new advertising and marketing technologies evolving, there may be a greater potential risk than reward in being at the leading edge.

According to published reports, Apple has recently dropped the buy-in cost of iAds from $1 million to half-a-million. Wouldn’t you just love to be the bozo who got there first?

The advertising industry has become obsessed with anointing every new media technology “the thing that will change everything.” Don’t be stampeded by this baloney.

You have plenty of time to analyze what is working and why. Digital technology is not going away. Understand the options and implement them prudently. The people who develop them will be happy to sell them to you fifteen minutes after they are proven successful.

Remember one of my axioms: There is no bigger sucker than a gullible marketer convinced he’s missing a trend.

So, what do you think?

Michael Thallium
Global & Greatness Coach
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