Monday, August 23, 2010

Can Internet Replace TV Retail Advertising?

The Internet audience is getting larger and larger. Internet usage is growing at a fast pace. Also, the spike in mobile Internet usage will for sure mark heavily this statement. On the other side, TV consumption is getting lower and lower. TV companies are hurt by the Internet competition. The consumption of videos on the Internet, either streaming shows, Youtube-like videos and video on demand, has been way more appealing than a large TV channel choice, which actually becomes difficult to scan through.

Tony Ceresoli owns a very interesting blog about retailing and TV advertising. Retailers have been big fan of TV advertising. As they are reaching a large number of customers, this mass media was of good use. Actually, this is very funny to compare retailer's usage of TV advertising in the United States versus in France. Indeed, in France, until 2003, French government forbid retailers to advertise on TV, in a silly attempt to protect local businesses. Now they struggle into getting the best of this medium.

Tony wrote a great article about Gap's new marketing strategy. On a recent blog post, Tony commented on the new advetising campaign named "Born To Fit". For once, this campaign has dedicated its whole budget to Internet, according a large amount to new social media.

Julie Channing, senior account director with The Gap’s digital agency explains the strategy this way, “We were really looking to reach out to fashionistas and influence audiences to start a conversation about how Gap has built this line of denim from the ground up.”

Really? So, consumers are going to visit a Facebook page and soon after begin conversing with friends and family about the development of a new brand of blue jeans?

What should we think about this attempt? Is it possible for a large company like Gap or other retailers to get rid of their TV budgets, to set it online. Of course, you need to check your core target, and see if actually that makes sense. For young active people, the Internet might actually be a better bet than TV. But can you really avoid going on TV if you need to reach the mass market?

Maybe someday it will be possible. When the Internet will be stronger, Internet companies will be able to propose to reach such large audience as the TV can right now. But so far, it remains unknown what kind of results those kind of campaigns might generate.

And you, what do you think about it?