With due regards to Harold Wilson, a week is a very long time in the digital domain. A week ago, Apple announced the iPad 2. Steve Jobs did a lot in one short announcement; he made the entire competition look weak, even though their hardware is better on paper. He settled rumours about his health. He made a lot of people believe that they are now in the post PC world. And most of all, he convinced people who had just spent a lot of money to buy the iPad that they need to hide it away lest they be exposed to scorn and ridicule and put down another lot of money for the iPad 2 instead.
The fascination with Apple products is one of the most glorious examples of the marriage between technology and style – sleek designs tied with top notch hardware and above everything, a brilliant understanding of marketing and positioning, which has seen the brand move out of Microsoft’s shadow and go on to become the second biggest company in the world.
As the digital correspondent for exchange4media, I hear a lot of people talking about technology and not enough people talking about creativity. Let’s take a little test. Think about Coke. You remember the ad on the television right, with the shadows? Sure, that was launched on the Internet, but it isn’t an Internet ad – it was just a TVC that you put on YouTube. How do we take that level of creativity and execution and bring it to the digital domain? Unless that happens, can it really grow?
Yesterday, I was talking to Yahoo executives for an hour about how the company wants to marry art, science and scale. The evolution of the technology powering the Internet means that this is becoming steadily more possible. The combination of rich media, text and interactive elements is something you can only get on the Internet. Ironically, some of the best ads online that I had seen were pop-ups, because they gave you the real estate needed to make the user interactions worthwhile.
Today, it’s possible to do that without being as annoying as a pop-up and with speed detection technology, you can even serve the right amount of rich media to the users. And once enough people start to do this, we can expect a boom in the digital advertising industry.
And me? I’m going to covet the iPad 2 for a while now.