Advertising and the superhighway A `great future’ down the road

Advertising has a 'great future' but will be much different from the way we know it now, says a top computer software executive.Ken Nickerson, director of technical services at Microsoft Canada, told a Canadian Direct Marketing Association luncheon audience in Toronto...

Advertising has a ‘great future’ but will be much different from the way we know it now, says a top computer software executive.

Ken Nickerson, director of technical services at Microsoft Canada, told a Canadian Direct Marketing Association luncheon audience in Toronto recently what will bring the changes and the great future is the information superhighway for which he predicts a take-off starting in 1996.

Changed

‘Everyone says `Does advertising have a future?’ I think it has a great future, but it has a future that is changed considerably,’ Nickerson says.

He says advertising directed at the electronic mailbox – tv, E-mail, fax machine and so on – has to engage the consumer, to focus on relationship building rather than relationship selling.

7Up game

Nickerson points to Sega, the video game manufacturer, which has built a game around a 7Up commercial called ‘Cool Spot.’

However, he says the future for electronic advertising is not without pitfalls.

Nickerson says, today, by law, large amounts of advertising he does not want ends up in his regular mailbox.

But he says in years to come, when it is his electronic mailbox direct marketers are eyeing, he will make access to it difficult simply because there are too many messages being sent and they cannot all be absorbed.

Incredible control

‘If [direct marketers] think about where [they] are going to be marketing to in the future, the consumer has an incredible amount of control over what message [he or she] allows [direct marketers] to deliver to them when it’s [their] electronic mailbox,’ Nickerson says.

Cost

He says to run a primetime tv show costs about US25 cents to US30 cents per household.

But Nickerson says, in future, viewers could pay a little more than that not to have to sit through commercials, or, they could even be paid to watch tv advertising.

‘And if they’re infomercials, [and a survey is taken,] maybe the viewers can get a discount on the product,’ he says. ‘Maybe it comes to them electronically, or on their card next time they visit that store.