Rich Media Rocks: Good brands are always in beta

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | November 02, 2009
At a workshop where rich media was at the core, various strong points came to the fore

Microsoft Advertising organised a workshop called Rich Media Rocks, wherein people from digital as well as traditional media were present to share learnings from rich media and the online world.

Neville Taraporewalla, director, advertiser and publisher solutions group, Microsoft India (Consumer and Online), made an introductory note; while Hemant Sachdev, joint managing director, Microsoft Corporation India, flagged off the workshop.

& #BANNER1 & #Sachdev said that considering the basics in advertising haven't changed; brands need to not interrupt the consumers, but entertain them; be relevant and create a dialogue and not a monologue. These basics applied even to digital and rich media.

Rich media is dynamic media that is made achievable on the digital platform. Different types of flowing ads or interactive ads on the digital platform can be referred to as rich media. Also, media that enable higher degree of consumer engagement fall into the rich media category.

Dean Donaldson, who is the digital experience strategist at Eyeblaster, dwelled on the blurring of the line between television and the online space.

Donaldson provided the example of Susan Boyle, who participated in the reality show, 'Britain's Got Talent' this year. The lady in question is a simple, middle-aged woman who hadn't ever sung on stage before, but after her audition on the show, millions of people all over the globe have watched the audition clip over the internet and know her.

"Television has begun to change because of the internet," said Donaldson. Even traditional media such as billboards have become interactive. Donaldson says that by 2015, at least 10 per cent of billboards will be interactive, further blurring the line between online and offline.

In this day and age, companies closely listen to consumers and implement change accordingly. He cited the example of Cadbury re-launching Wispa, a chocolate brand that the company discontinued many years ago. This was made possible by a Facebook page, where users recounted memories of eating Wispa, and expressing that they'd like the chocolate to be available again.

Post the re-launch of Wispa, there was another surge of consumer feedback in the form of videos on YouTube, where people filmed themselves eating the first Wispa and so on. Cadbury also carried out an outdoor activity, where Wispa Gold (flavour variant) would carry messages from consumers. Donaldson said this was a way where the company gave the brand back to the consumer.

Another point that most speakers at the workshop made was that measuring digital advertising click through was a wrong metric; and other means of measurement are a better ballpark. Salil Kumar, lead - advertiser and publisher solutions group, Microsoft Advertising, India said, means such as consumer interaction can be measured; out of banner full plays and reruns are also measurable; as are video replay rates and other such metrics.

Partha Sinha, managing partner, BBH India, in his presentation, spoke about certain malaises that internet advertising suffers from. The cheap and cheerful syndrome, where maximum bang is expected out of the buck, is the chief malaise.

Sinha stated that in order to be relevant, a brand should always be in beta. "Good brands are never cast in concrete," he said. An example was how music band, Oasis launched its recent album with street artists. Before the launch of the actual album, street artists learned the songs from the album and performed at various locations. Fans were informed about the gig beforehand, through maps and other media. Thus, the band got a response on their album even before the actual launch.

All in all, the workshop touched upon how media is changing irreversibly. It emphasised that creativity and innovation needs to be at the core of rich media advertising; and that there is life beyond the last ad clicked.