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Blake Dowling: With ads, 2017 is an all-new animal

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Who remembers when beer commercials were awesome? What happened to Spuds McKenzie?

This awesome Lone Star Beer ad really shines:

Or the team of studs at Elsinore Brewery:

And — last but not least – this Schlitz Malt Liquor ads that ruled the early 80s (which might have been the pinnacle). No one does it like the bull:

For so long, TV was everything from a media buyer’s stand point — but then it all changed. When pushing a product, or running a campaign, traditional media outlets stay, but the landscape has changed and opportunities are vast.

Facebook ads, Twitter gurus pushing your product, and utilizing analytics from social engineering.

My friend Michael Sharp, managing director for Nielsen Local Agencies, says this about media buying:

“In today’s fragmented media environment, media buyers need access to dependable, actionable and accurate data that facilitates the advertising planning and buying process. Nielsen’s wide range of solutions enables agencies to effectively deliver on an advertiser’s campaign objectives while helping them uncover new audiences and consumer segments.”

A law firm in North Florida – which definitely does not consult about marketing with anyone from this century – says they still advertise on the back of the phone book.

When is the last time anyone has seen a phone book?

The other day, I heard a kid ask: “What’s a phone book?”

Disruption strikes again. We cannot even keep up with the terminology. You might say “I read something in the newspaper,” but did you really read a “newspaper?” Or are you just referring to a news website of a former newspaper?

Sounds like we need some charts …

Thirty years ago, if Ford and wanted to sell cars, they placed an ad in the auto section of a local paper. Guaranteed return on investment.

Now, there is geo-fencing, tweeting, hiring Matthew McConaughey to drive cars around.

What happened to radio? When I started my career, every morning began with a Mountain Dew, listening to the Regular Guys on 96 Rock while rolling into the downtown ATL (83 Walton Street, Capricorn Records Building).

I have not listened to the radio in 11 years.

Obviously, I am stating some pretty obvious trends here, but when thinking about marketing, you need to start thinking differently. The winner of the past two U.S. presidential elections utilized grassroots social media tools — coupled with finely tuned paid analytics — to sway the vote.

So, TV and radio are certainly not dead, and (according to some experts) local radio still can reach 90 percent of the U.S. population on a weekly basis (I’m a 10-percenter, I guess).

Nevertheless, these experts all agree … it’s a new animal in 2017.

Then, of course, there is the fun of everyone gathering personal info on the web, even as they assure us they will not use it. But, I assure you, they do.

Auto-buying pattern tools are watching and changing your online experience, suggesting and swaying your activities.

Let’s hear from this Princeton dude:

 “The modern web is a mashup, which means the content that you’re looking at on the page, which just looks like one single webpage with text and graphics, is in fact assembled from multiple different sources, sometimes dozens, and these different sources can be a variety of different companies,” explains Arvind Narayanan, assistant professor of Computer Science at Princeton, “When you look at a webpage, there’s content visible to you and invisible stuff purely for the purpose of tracking what you’re doing.”

In the end, it’s all pointing to privatized content platforms (such as Netflix), social media, targeted analytics, high-profile influencers, and websites. You have to find your buyers and voters.

Available tools are endless, and (for the love of Spuds McKenzie) stop sending direct mail pieces –this means you, politicians.

They go straight to the trash and don’t even make it through the door.

My advice? Put aside $5M for a Super Bowl ad (as Mike from Nielsen told me offline — TV ads are still very effective) and your message will still get through.

If that’s not in the budget, start with about $200 a month in paid Facebook ads and see what happens.

Good luck out there; let’s close with a classic beer slogan: “If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the beer.

Miller Beer. Perfect.


Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies and his favorite TV show is The Fall Guy.


Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at [email protected] or at

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