Facebook’s effect on the advertising industry is almost the equivalent of the culture shock experienced by us a few millennium back when Adam and Eve took a bite out of that piece of fruit they were told not to. I’m only kidding, we all know taking a chomp out of that apple doesn’t even compare to the Facebook effect, and, more specifically, the effect on the topic at hand - advertising.
Facebook, for all intent and purpose is an exceptionally powerful marketing venue. The product Facebook offers is us, but us as a product isn’t enough. It’s the perceived value and ease of access to everything about us, spackled with a pixie dust commercially called a Like button which is the real magic behind Facebook – all designed to fortify their Svengali-like effect on ad agencies of every shape and size.
Read any number of ad agency Blog posts and you see how much the discussion is on Facebook is doing this, and Facebook is doing that, we have to inform our clients on what Facebook is doing now, and yada, yada. It’s pretty obvious who’s subtly gaining control of the advertising industry … well, maybe not that subtly.
Facebook’s seemingly bit by bit co-opting of the ad industry, via a carrot on a stick dripping with targeted instant access to a gazillion potential customers, and growing, will wind up doing what any Gordon Gecko type would do; dismantle as much as it can, and rejigger the industry as close to its image and likeness as possible, all under the Facebook guise of “We are the world, we are the children.”
How deep will this “remake” of an industry go, who knows? Facebook is just getting warmed up. Let’s take Facebook Premium / Sponsored Stories for example, under the hood, this is just old-school-ad-agency-media-buyer stuff translated Online without needing the ad agency media part to a Facebook-can-do-it-for-you thing. As far as Social goes, you play ball Facebook’s way or bye-bye access. Just one little platform or policy shift by Facebook and a bunch of brands and their ad agencies just might have to re-vamp a whole caboodle of ads, contests and other marketing stuff at the drop of hat because all of sudden you’re not doing things the “Facebook way.”
That’s power baby.
You could say, ah, a lot of mediums you have to watch out for that kind of thing, maybe so, but not like Facebook.
I get this feeling, if Facebook keeps going the way they're going, in the very near future, there will only be one thing for ad agencies and communications firms to do, and that’s make content, FB will do everything else, media planning, research, strategy, buying, placement, distribution, etc., because of all that juicy information they can leverage at their fingertips - all for whatever price FB says it will be. Of course ad agencies will still have TV, radio and print, but, they’re not Facebook.
Let’s play with a scenario: Facebook has “relationships” with all the “right” Hollywood talent reps, (hell, Hollywood made a movie about Zuckerberg) and, AXE Body Wash wants to generate some buzz - do some new product selling. In the “old days,” an ad agency may have a relationship with a Hollywood actor’s rep, (or, something like that), the agency approaches the particular actor’s rep whom they feel would be good for the AXE spot, with some lunches and some schmoozing the agency hammers out a deal for the actor to sponsor the AXE spot, the agency, AXE and the “hired gun” actor make the spot, the agency plans, slots, targets the ad placements where the agency’s media people feel AXE will get the most bang for the buck – all done the standard ad agency way – same as it ever was.
Now, let’s do a replay, only this time, we’ll do it the Facebook way: just like above, AXE wants to generate buzz and sales for a new product, but this time it’s going to be a huge Facebook/Social marketing campaign thing. Facebook, for a fee, sells access to the ‘’right” ad agencies, (translation, the agencies FB knows will pay a lot) of all the “A” list Hollywood talent FB can get for your brand to do a FB sponsored ad push, (Sponsored Stories on steroids), the ad agency likes Ashton Kutcher for a product sponsor, he’s still a top-notch “it guy” and, most important, Ashton’s FB following is in the gazillions, and FB says no problem, we’ll get him for you … for this much. The ad distribution and placement deal between AXE, the ad agency, and sponsor is all done thanks to Facebook. All the ad agency had to do was create the content.
But wait … Facebook doesn’t stop there, knowing full-well the power of the right kind of collaboration, FB tells the ad agency, “Hey, for an added fee, (maybe an FB packaged distribution deal) Ashton will do a Tweet for you too.”
Now, imagine this, with a Facebook – TV network relationship.
Think the above scenario is a little crazy; just refer back to the Zuckerberg movie thing, and, of course, Facebook being Facebook.
Bouncing ahead a bit, using just a tad of imagination, what’s the future of the ad agency’s role in media planning, negotiation, distribution, research and other agency things going to be like as the lines continue to blur between TV and the Online / Facebook world? Time will tell.
Anyway, let’s face facts, Facebook’s way past wanting our souls, FB’s taking ownership.
Oh, by-the-way, I have a question: If you’re a brand, and not on Facebook, does your brand really and truly exist?