Storytelling, interactive ads key to TV-Internet amalgam: Joost executive

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SAN FRANCISCO - Storytelling is the future of media, according to yesterday's keynote address at the ad:tech San Francisco show.

In a presentation called "Dreaming of Disruption," David Clark, general manager for North America and executive vice president of advertising at Joost, discussed the future of television and the Internet, and what it means for advertisers.

"The key for any of us in changing our sport is knowing what is sacred and what is not," Mr. Clark told the gathering of interactive marketers. "Marketing and communications is sacred, advertising is not."

Joost, a new open source online video content aggregator that hosts content from independent content producers and major television and film studios, is not trying to compete with television.

In fact, Mr. Clark said, television is still the greatest entertainment vehicle in history. He cited shows like "The Sopranos," "24," "The Colbert Report" and "Lost" to argue that television is at its height in quality and in producers' attention to cinematic style in these shows.

He said Joost is trying to bring together the Internet's benefits with that of TV. As these two channels merge, so will the advertising that supports them.

Mr. Clark does not expect advertising to go away, but it will have to adapt to the new media formats, much like the 30-second spot took time to evolve. He cited the launch of Scope mouthwash as a good example of how the 30-second spot worked in the '70s because the consumers were engaged and everyone was watching the same programming.

"We are not convinced that the 30-second spot is dead," Mr. Clark said. "On the contrary, if done right, it can be really effective."

The challenge of marketers today is to engage consumers in the same way, only within a fragmented marketplace.

The key to getting this attention is through good storytelling, regardless of the format of television, Internet or some amalgam of the two. Marketers should focus on good storytelling and then allow the ads to be interactive, targeted and relevant.

"Consumers are still looking for marketers to tell them about products that are relevant to them and make their lives better," Mr. Clark said. "The new ad model should be based on interactivity, measurability and targetability."

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