Next step is video

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We're in the midst of a revolution in advertising. Communications technologies are developing rapidly. We're witnessing an explosion of fragmenting channels. Video is blossoming on the interactive online stage, while text-only Web sites are retiring to the wings. And consumers are taking control. These trends are redefining our advertising environment and demanding new formats and creative strategies.

Across all the new media vistas, businesses and consumers have one thing in common: They can't seem to get enough video. When translated to an advertising platform, I've dubbed this "videoactive advertising." It's the next step in the evolution of DRTV.

Videoactive advertising transcends traditional persuasive media by giving us a virtual experience. The message may be mediated, but our reactions are real, immediate and sharable. Mass media used to make our choices for us, serving up advertising on its schedule. Today, we navigate randomly, whether browsing online or through a 400-channel electronic program guide. We select what to watch and when to watch. If it bores us, we quickly move on. So advertising's first goal is obvious: Dissuade viewers from abandoning your message.

Advertising overload invites viewers to dismiss ads as irrelevant. With technology providing the means, consumers are taking control. ¬°With DVRs, downloads and on-demand video, millions now avoid being overloaded with commercials.

Online content providers have learned this lesson, and have made it their mission to deter any ad-skipping. Some networks embed their ads into content streams, where they would seem to be unavoidable. They're not. TV viewers use commercials for refrigerator breaks; online viewers can read e-mail while ads play.

It's time to face the future. Consumers are already talking about our products and brands. Some write reviews, others blog. Your most engaged customers will even try to one-up your agency. We must learn to accept this, and engage consumers as partners.

Nobody likes to be "advertised to," but we all love entertainment. Videoactive engagement is informational and emotional. It offers viewers transparent methods to gather the information they want. It engages consumers with relevant information that invites their interactive response. Viewers choose how to acquire the information they'll use to make a rational purchase decision.

Advertising success in emerging new media relies on a long-proven premise: The more you tell, the more you sell. The more consumers interact with video messaging, the longer they engage. The longer they engage, the more likely they'll buy.

DRTV marketers are uniquely equipped to thrive in the digital era. Already accustomed to mining historical databases to guide creative decisions and media placement, we must target online just as precisely. Advertiser and agency success requires that we deliver resonant messages to customers. We measure, learn and adapt.

The goal is the same: Create a measurable response to advertising messages. This demands accountability and strong returns on investment. And DRTV's creative formulas will infuse these new media campaigns. Our interactive marketing know-how will be videoactive's defining legacy.

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