Utne Reader Project June 98

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Utne Reader Summary June 98

Submitted by Tim Everson

November 4, 1998

I recently completed reading Randall Rothenbergs article Romancing the Net in the May-June issue of Utne Reader. The article dealt with advertising on the Internet. I guess I always thought that advertising was more of a statistically based practice. According to Rothenberg no one understands how, or even if, advertising works. He claims that the process of producing and distributing goods is so large and complex that it is impossible to single out advertising and try to measure its effectiveness. For years, advertising agencies have used this unknown factor to sell more pages. Since no one seems to really know exactly how or how effectively advertising works, these agencies have been selling ads on the idea that more is better. He then mentions that according to recent evidence, either advertising really doesnt work or people just arent paying attention. Rothenberg stated that Nike increased its U.S. advertising spending by 70% from 1986 to 1996. Despite this increased advertising, more people than ever believe that most products of the same type are exactly alike.

Now the Internet has entered the picture as an advertising medium. The advertising agencies have approached the Net with mixed emotions. Rothenberg claims that the Internet advertising will be accountable, unlike the 30 second radio spots and advertising in the newspapers. He claims that Proctor and Gamble which is probably the most influential organization in advertising this century has announced that it would be monitoring and changing its online advertising according to what it called clickthroughs. This means that a counter would be set up to tabulate the number of people that were accessing their advertising on the web. The Internet users would see an advertisement and then click on it to get more information. When they clicked, the counter would show this. This would allow advertising agencies to see exactly how many people were reading their ads. By looking at these numbers, they would make adjustments to their online advertising. I dont feel that a user has to click on the advertisement in order for the advertisement to be successful. I think that when a person sees an advertisement for a particular product they are more apt to at least pick it up and look at it more closely the next time that they are in the store. Because these advertisements show up on nearly every web page, many people are exposed to the advisement regardless if they click to read more information or not.

I do not agree with Rothenberg that marketing and media as we know them will be wiped away. I do believe that marketing and media will go through some major changes much like radio did in reaction to the television. The radio did not disappear. I find that the idea of change is an exciting action to witness. It will be interesting to see where we are 10 years from now as far as media and advertising go.

Since reading this article I have been more conscious of the advertising around me, both on the Internet and elsewhere. I never realized how much advertising was really on the Net until I started looking for it. I probably have already been influenced by web advertising without even knowing it. I have even started clicking on some of the Internet ads just to see what information follows.

-- Anonymous, November 04, 1998


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