Holler’s Mike Hill Pens Open Letter To IAB’s Randall Rothenberg On Ad Blocking Debate

Holler’s Mike Hill Pens Open Letter To IAB’s Randall Rothenberg On Ad Blocking Debate
SHARE
THIS



The hype around ad blocking and whether it’s good for the industry or not has reached boiling point. Mike Hill and Dan Hitchcock from digital agency Holler recently coined an opinion piece together about why ad blocking was beneficial for adland. However, head honcho of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in the States, Randall Rothenberg, slammed the suggestion, saying anyone who thought it was good was “foolish”.

Here, Hill responds to Rothenberg in an open letter.

Dear Randall,

Let me tell you a story; an urban myth if you like.

In the early 2000s the execs at Sony called an emergency meeting with a bunch of teenagers. They called some Napster-loving teens into a big office and ran a workshop about music listening habits. They talked about the music they liked, where they got it from, the gigs they went to, etc.

It was an arduous meeting. In return for their feedback, on a large white table on the way out of the executive floor, were hundreds of CDs for the teens to take home. As many as they wanted.

Not a single kid took a CD. It was then that the execs realised they were in trouble.

You see, no matter the size of your subpoena, you can’t change what consumers want and don’t want. A giant like Sony couldn’t make kids want CDs. And you can’t make people want banner ads. This is not my opinion. You are not debating me, a foolish ad exec. You are debating the people. And we (I say “we” because we should be on the same side) will lose this one.

Isn’t it ironic that digital, the advertising discipline that has for so long cried “interruption is dead”, is now bleating that it needs to protect its right to interrupt? 

Banner ads work

We do lots of them. We do them well. We put a huge amount of effort into the craft of building them. We’re even doing them according to your very own recommended industry standards

We get a lot of traction with them too, especially in a retail capacity. 

However, whether they are effective or not is a moot point. They’re on their way out. Not because I say they are, but because companies like Apple, Google and Firefox allow (or will soon allow) consumers to block them. Consumers will welcome this change with open arms. Not simply because banners are distracting, but also because they hamper the speed and quality of their online experience.

For too long, all of us in the advertising industry have lived under the delusion that people want what we make. They usually don’t. They sometimes really don’t. They might have tolerated banners for many years, and even (reluctantly) enjoyed them when we got it right. But now they don’t have to, so they won’t. 

We need to find a better solution now before it’s too late

The little guy is going to lose out in ad revenue on this. That is a shame, however it’s not the end of the little guy. They said music piracy would destroy music. It didn’t. Smaller bands found a way to keep earning. It hasn’t been easy, but the quality and abundance of new music hasn’t changed. Today consumers now have Spotify, Pandora, and now Apple Music as a result of that change. Smaller content providers will find their own ways to adapt.

We need to look at the impending technological block coming, and find better ways of engaging audiences. The brands that have been slow off the mark building their owned media will be caught, finally, with their pants down. 

Legal action is not a solution

This is a battle you cannot win. They are too many and we are too few.

Napster may have felt the force of law nearly 15 years ago. Yet file sharing continues to punctuate the musical landscape. Those who fail to adjust their business model to the new rhythms punched out by the Internet and digital technologies are ruthlessly left behind.

The demise of EMI in 2011 is perhaps the best illustration of this. Despite becoming the first record company to go DRM-free, their tried and trusted business model was completely upended by file sharing, and the lucrative record contracts that they’d signed-off in the preceding years, became completely unsustainable.

Failure to adapt to digital technology is not just confined to the music industry. We all know what happened to Kodak, who’s short sighted management brushed off the threat of digital photography for decades, a technology that they had ironically invented.  

The companies’ strategic failure to acknowledge the influence of digital photography was the direct cause of the drastic decline of its film-based business model.

If we have learnt one thing from stories like Kodak and EMI, is that failure to adapt to a constantly evolving digital landscape can drive a business into the ground.

In the case of ad-blockers, penalising people or companies by denying them access to your product and services is a dangerous game to play and is not the model for sustainable growth. Even a foolish ad exec can see that.

A solution?

We have to get better at what we do. It’s time to up the stakes on gathering data on our customers. We have to mine that data. We have to create content that compels them to watch, break, fix, consume. I’m not talking about competing with the likes of Big Brother or The Voice. I’m talking about entertaining people on their commute into work, or breaking up their day at the office.

I don’t foresee banners going away immediately. Maybe they won’t entirely go away at all. Maybe you are right and sites will adopt a “No ads, no entry” policy. I hope not. It’s not a good experience for users, brands or publishers.

People are crying out to stop the bullshit. I say let’s listen to them and work on ways we can evolve the industry for a better experience across the board. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the music industry. Let’s learn from them. I for one would rather embrace change than fear it.

Latest News

Seven Snares Seasoned Sports Exec Dave Barham As Its New Head Of Cricket
  • Media

Seven Snares Seasoned Sports Exec Dave Barham As Its New Head Of Cricket

Seven West Media has announced the appointment of Dave Barham as the broadcaster’s head of cricket. Barham is a former managing director of AFL Films and head of sport for Network Ten. In recent years he was the executive in charge of Ten’s coverage of the Big Bash League and Australian F1 Grand Prix.  His appointment follows Seven’s six-year agreement with Cricket Australia. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Xero Celebrates The Beautiful Moments Of Small Business In New Campaign
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Xero Celebrates The Beautiful Moments Of Small Business In New Campaign

Cloud accounting software provider Xero has revealed the next phase of its ‘Beautiful Business’ brand campaign. The national campaign showcases the moments that define beautiful business, from the flexibility of remote working, to reclaiming valuable time and the chance to focus on the important things in life, enabled by streamlined accounting and business processes. The […]

What Is The Most Misleading Metric In Influencer Marketing Right Now?
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

What Is The Most Misleading Metric In Influencer Marketing Right Now?

In this guest post, Natalie Giddings (pictured below), managing director of The Remarkables Group, argues why brands need to stop with the outrageous ‘reach’ claims and tidy up their reporting metrics. I was recently a judge for a couple of local Australian marketing awards. I love giving up my time to do this because I […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
QUT Creative Enterprise Australia Accepts 10 Start-Ups Into Its Creative Tech Accelerator
  • Technology

QUT Creative Enterprise Australia Accepts 10 Start-Ups Into Its Creative Tech Accelerator

QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) has announced the 10 start-ups that have been accepted in its Collider Accelerator. The three-month accelerator is a proud Australian first which is carving the way for start-ups specialising across the creative tech verticals. Commencing this week, the 10 participating companies will receive coaching from international mentors and deep domain […]

The Works Launches Podcast With RXP Services & Global Law Firm Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Advertising
  • Technology

The Works Launches Podcast With RXP Services & Global Law Firm Norton Rose Fulbright

Expert insights on what’s trending in the world of technology, data and innovation will be discussed in a new podcast powered by The Works, digital services consultancy RXP Services, and global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. The Smart Dust podcast – named after micro-electromechanical computers that that can be breathed in to monitor the human […]

Why We Need To Make Consequences Cool
  • Opinion

Why We Need To Make Consequences Cool

Here at B&T, we have a trendy communal black leather jacket for staff to wear while suffering consequences.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Lovatts Media Acquires Nourish Magazine From Blitz Publications
  • Media

Lovatts Media Acquires Nourish Magazine From Blitz Publications

Lovatts Media has purchased Nourish magazine from Blitz Publications in a last-minute deal that has ensured the title continues to be published in Australia. Rachael Northey, CEO of Lovatts Media, believes the demand for high-quality niche magazines is growing rather than declining. Building on the successful 2017 launches of their popular mindfulness titles Breathe, Teen […]

Women In Media Profile: Elaine Herlihy
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Women In Media Profile: Elaine Herlihy

If you've come here looking for Elaine Herlihy's famed scone recipe then it'll be the only disappointment you'll endure.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Thrive PR + Communications Opens Fifth Office & Appoints New Staff
  • Marketing

Thrive PR + Communications Opens Fifth Office & Appoints New Staff

Independent PR agency Thrive PR + Communications has announced the launch of its fifth office, opening its doors permanently on the Gold Coast and making multiple team appointments. In response to client demand, and embracing the growth of Australia’s emerging innovation hotspot, the Gold Coast will be Thrive’s second Queensland location following the opening of […]

China Social Solutions Reveal The Massive Market Brands Are Missing
  • Partner Content

China Social Solutions Reveal The Massive Market Brands Are Missing

Advertising, in its essence, is about reaching the largest number of people, in the most seamless, creative way. However, reaching a large audience can often be the biggest hurdle, so how does a crowd of a few hundred million users sound? Weibo, China’s answer to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and every other app combined, has hit […]

Partner Content

by China Social Solutions logo

How To Thrive In An Age Of Disruption
  • Opinion

How To Thrive In An Age Of Disruption

Has the age of disruption left you fearful? Well, you'll be singing Helen Reddy's 'I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar' after this.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Monash University And Y&R Melbourne Launch Wristbands To Deter Drink-Spikers
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Monash University And Y&R Melbourne Launch Wristbands To Deter Drink-Spikers

Y&R Melbourne has an innovative wristband on campus at Monash University that detect drugs by simply placing a drop of your drink onto the band itself. Designed for widespread use across festivals, events, bars, nightclubs and other venues where patrons are already accustomed to using wristbands, the ‘Sip Safe’ wristband is equal parts a utility, […]

Global Brand Events Agency INVNT Opens Sydney Office
  • Marketing

Global Brand Events Agency INVNT Opens Sydney Office

Brand events agency INVNT has announced it has expanded its operations to the Asia-Pacific region with a new office in Sydney. Originally founded in New York in 2008 by Scott Cullather and Kristina McCoobery, INVNT creates and produces brand engagements for every audience segment, including employees, customers, partners, investors, the media, and consumers. Cullather said […]

The Copyright Agency Invites Visual Artists To Claim Image Royalties
  • Media

The Copyright Agency Invites Visual Artists To Claim Image Royalties

The Copyright Agency is inviting Australian artists and their heirs to nominate about where their works have been published or used on TV to receive payment for their copyright-protected work as part of a month-long campaign. The Copyright Agency, which recently merged with Viscopy, is Australia’s national copyright licensing organisation for the publishing, media, surveying […]

Pac Mags’ Emily Sak Joins Shopper Media Group As Its First Data & Insights Chief
  • Marketing
  • Media

Pac Mags’ Emily Sak Joins Shopper Media Group As Its First Data & Insights Chief

Digital retail out-of-home media business Shopper Media Group has announced the appointment of Emily Sak to the newly created position of head of data and insights. The new role forms part of Shopper Media Group’s expansion plan to keep up with the accelerated growth that has seen its portfolio surpass more than 220 shopping centres […]

CX Lavender Appoints Business Development Director For Melbourne
  • Marketing

CX Lavender Appoints Business Development Director For Melbourne

Customer experience agency CX Lavender has announced the appointment of Michael Rummery to the role of business development director for Melbourne. Rummery (pictured above) was previously account director of client services at global marketing and digital recruitment firm Aquent, and has held roles at a number of talent agents and recruitment firms with a focus […]

The New York Times Appoints WeThinkMedia As Its Aussie Advertising Rep
  • Advertising
  • Media

The New York Times Appoints WeThinkMedia As Its Aussie Advertising Rep

The New York Times Company has announced the appointment of media representation agency WeThinkMedia to represent its advertising business in Australia. WeThinkMedia will be responsible for all advertising in the region, including print, digital, branded content, programmatic, and events. The partnership will be overseen by Tom Armstrong, vice president of advertising for The New York […]

The Future Of Influencer Marketing: More Than Just A One-Night Stand
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

The Future Of Influencer Marketing: More Than Just A One-Night Stand

Influencers are the new powerhouses in driving stock off shelves, but brands are yet to find the right recipe for successful collaboration, according to Guillaume Deront of Gleam Futures @ The Story Lab (pictured below). Here, he argues that marketers need to look beyond purely targeting an audience and channel their energy towards building long-term […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Designing Cultural And Organisational Change
  • Opinion

Designing Cultural And Organisational Change

In this guest post, Bronwyn Van Der Merwe (pictured below), managing director of Fjord Australia and New Zealand (part of Accenture Interactive), details the four traits of a ‘living business’ – something she believes organisations have to become in order to transform successfully. The digital age has created a plethora of challenges for modern organisations, […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee joint hearing about Facebook on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Media

Free TV Calls For ACCC Oversight Of Facebook & Google

In a submission lodged with the ACCC inquiry into digital platforms, industry body Free TV today called for greater regulatory oversight of Facebook and Google. The FreeTV submission identifies a number of key areas of concern: Heavy regulation on traditional media providers and almost none on Facebook and Google Questionable claims about the reach, viewability, […]

APN Outdoor Confirms Retention Of Three Key Contracts
  • Media

APN Outdoor Confirms Retention Of Three Key Contracts

APN Outdoor has used its annual general meeting to announce three key contract renewals: Transport for Brisbane, Transdev Melbourne and Adelaide & Parafield Airports, for multiple years. Company CEO and managing director, James Warburton, said: “These contracts represent an important part of our advertising offering. The far-reaching impact they provide delivers a compelling proposition and cements our commitment […]

Women In Media Profile: Olivia Warren
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Olivia Warren

It's the latest in our Women In Media profiles, and this one is so good you'll possibly get a nervous twitch somewhere.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
LIDA Delivers Series Of Animated Info Bites For Busy Marketers
  • Marketing
  • Media

LIDA Delivers Series Of Animated Info Bites For Busy Marketers

M&C Saatchi Group’s customer engagement specialist agency, LIDA, has crafted an initial eight-episode series of bite-sized animated videos designed to help busy marketers stay ahead of the game. ‘60 Second Gets’ draws on LIDA’s wealth of experience to unpack the latest industry tools, tech and thinking. Launching today, the first video, ‘Success in 6 Seconds’, […]

Naked And Gidget Foundation Want Australians To Start Talking
  • Campaigns

Naked And Gidget Foundation Want Australians To Start Talking

Today Naked launches its ‘Start Talking’ campaign for Gidget Foundation Australia; a not-for-profit that provides support for families who are affected by perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA). The centrepiece of the campaign is a powerful TVC that brings to life this common, but often hidden illness, and shows how Gidget Foundation’s ‘Start Talking’ telehealth program […]

MKTG Integrates Telstra Tracker Data With LED Signage At AFL Stadiums
  • Marketing
  • Technology

MKTG Integrates Telstra Tracker Data With LED Signage At AFL Stadiums

For the first time ever, AFL spectators will be able to view real-time Telstra Tracker player data via in-stadium LED signage, thanks to the combined efforts of Telstra, Champion Data and MKTG. By integrating the Telstra Tracker data into the LED signage at the MCG and Etihad Stadium, fans will receive contextually relevant information from […]

Westfield Shows Off New Visual Identity In Line With Fresh Digital Offering
  • Marketing

Westfield Shows Off New Visual Identity In Line With Fresh Digital Offering

Scentre Group has unveiled a new brand look and feel coinciding with the re-launch of the Westfield.com.au and Westfield.co.nz sites. This digital-first visual identity sees a shift towards creating a more contemporary, invigorated and colourful brand, reflective of Westfield’s in-centre experience. The iconic Westfield logo will continue to lead brand communications, supported with a new […]