The discovery that GM — the country’s 3rd largest advertiser — pulled its ad money from Facebook, because Facebook said “no” to its splashy take-over ads (a.k.a. “creative”) is more evidence that the User Annoyance Issue is a significant culture war issue. AdAge brought the back story about what happened.
GM wanted to brand Facebook. And Facebook wasn’t selling.
In a now-notorious meeting between General Motors Global CMO Joel Ewanick and other top marketing brass and Facebook sales executives, the automaker’s team asked whether it was possible to run bigger, higher-impact ad units than the current offering, according to people familiar with the discussion…GM asked if it could take over a page. It was told no.
The AdAge story goes on to suggest that this stance by Facebook has long frustrated the “deepest pocketed marketers” and that Mark Zuckerberg will have trouble maintaining such a position now that his is a public company. You can almost see the smoke-filled conference rooms of the “Mad Men” filled with gloating harrumphs of, “Cough-cough, That punk kid will learn, cough-cough, the realities of the, cough-cough, REAL world soon enough!”
Be very, very careful, here people.
You see, Madison Avenue is built on big money’s ability to “move” people who don’t necessarily want to be moved. Never forget the words that Edward Bernays, the father of modern public relations, wrote in The Engineering of Consent:
“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it.”
Or, as Ries and Trout demonstrated in Positioning, The Battle for Your Mind, you can “Make and position an industry leader so that its name and message wheedles its way into the collective subconscious of your market-and stays there.” I’ve always liked the word “wheedles.” Such a nice, friendly thought, eh?
This is both the success and failure of mass marketing, but times are changing. ESPN had the clout to say no to online ad networks, because they wanted to control the advertising on THEIR site. You may not like some of their ads, but you’ll never be confronted with a 30-second preroll on ESPN.com. Facebook is now saying “there’s got to be a better way.” The jury is out here, but I applaud their position.
Meanwhile, Doc Searls continues his efforts to generate ad messaging from consumers-to-businesses as a way to generate commerce (Project VRM), which is one of the most revolutionary concepts in modern history.
I’m want to quote Dylan here, but I won’t. I’d just like to offer to those who sit back and say, “Yeah, but just wait” that you might be waiting for a very long time.
Viva Le Revolution!