We’ve come up with a curious phrase to describe today’s incessant digitization of everyday objects, and we call it “The Internet of Things.” Well, just as we have seen a trend in the added connectivity of the things all around us, so too have we begun to witness the added interactivity of brands within our everyday objects, systems and daily routines. I call this “The Advertising of Things.”
This is not a wholly new concept in the world of advertising: product placement has been inserting itself into entertainment, brands have been licensing merchandise, and Absolut has found a way to express itself in any and every form of art for years. But The Internet of Things has allowed advertising to reach us at unprecedented touch points – from the check-ins we have every 25 seconds with our phones, to the up-and-coming wearable technology that will soon snugly cling to us throughout the day.
Advertising has become more than simply messaging to sell products, services and experiences – it has become an array products, services and experiences in and of itself. Brands are creating apps, content, in-store experiences and more. Paul Kemp-Robertson even notes that with the advent of gift cards, loyalty programs, and store points, branded currency has effectively disrupted traditional money. Nike has gone as far as to allow customers to bid on products with the number of miles they’ve run, verified by its own Nike+ technology.
For this reason, alongside all the incredible data and new technology still avalanche-ing in at us, I believe that advertising is in its Renaissance. The industry needs bright minds to solve business problems in increasingly innovative ways, as companies must find ways to connect in an increasingly creative economy.
While I’m still only a kid playing in my first advertising sandbox, I’m not the only one there. The evolution of the industry is still young, everyone is learning the new language as they go, and we are in a time where it can even be an advantage to have your company founded by a 21 year-old who isn’t attached to the status quo.
So let’s pour an Old Fashioned in honor of Don Draper’s Golden Age and have a toast to advertising’s new heyday in the Digital.