NONE: ONLINE-ADS>> Day 1 - _at_d:tech New York - 10/27/98

ONLINE-ADS>> Day 1 - _at_d:tech New York - 10/27/98
Tue, 27 Oct 1998 11:10:53 -0600 (CST)

Below is a special mailing to The Online Advertising Discussion
List about the _at_d:tech New York conference, written by
Ann Handley, editor of The ClickZ Network. You will
receive these reports in addition to your normal Online Ads

_at_d:tech New York
Day 1

Ann Handley
Editor in Chief
The ClickZ Network


I'm thinking that _at_d:tech New York should rename its
conference _at_d:tech New York: The Event.

Day one of the three-day show, kicking off yesterday in NYC,
was a little like the Super Bowl. A lot of times the game
might disappoint. But you are always glad you went, if only
to participate in The Event.

Yesterday's program didn't really break any new ground in
content. We heard that the internet is a global medium, rich
media holds the promise, and that integration with the
offline world is key. No new information there. And there
were few real-world solutions that attendees could bring
home and set to work immediately.

But it was clear that _at_d:tech is THE place to be if you are
working in online advertising today. In fact, the buzz
started last week, as PR representatives for various
companies worked their press and client contacts, gathering
momentum for the kickoff. The sense even before the show
started was that if you weren't planning to be at _at_d:tech,
you were missing something.

So what happened?

Well, sessions were packed - about 3,600 attendees
registered to attend one or all of the three days. The
vendor area was sold out and stocked like a trout pond with
tchotchkes. Representatives from FAST Forward reconvened
here yesterday, and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB)
held its fall meeting here.

Last night was a wine tasting (hosted by and a
cigar party (hosted by, among other events.
The evening's IAB dinner was sold-out, as is tonight's
Momentum Awards.

Bottom line: _at_d:tech is a happening with a capital H, and it
is clearly a major schmooze event.

But where's the beef? Well, it was there. But it took a
different form than you might expect. Typically, speakers
assessed the online ad industry's current state of affairs,
pointing up where the industry is lacking or what's wrong
with its current approach. Speakers generally offered few
bottom-line solutions.

Did it matter? That sort of depends on why you came to
_at_d:tech. If your goal is to make a few contacts, you probably
had a fruitfulfirst day. Ditto if you came seeking a little
big-picture vision and clarity. But if you hoped to rely on
_at_d:tech for turnkey approaches or hands-on advice,
it probably wasn't your game.

Thankfully, there were no sales pitches lobbed from the
podium. Conference chair Chuck Martin, author of the brand
new book Net Futures, kept a tight rein there. No speaker
was allowed to use his or her time at the head of the class
to hawk any wares.

Here's The Kick

Yesterday morning, Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg
LP, kicked off the seminar portion of the day by sharing his
vision of what the online ad industry must do to evolve.

In a nutshell: It needs to separate itself out from all the
other shapes and forms of media out there in the
marketplace. It needs to carve a distinct space out of the
huge heap of advertising, so that it's not just another
billboard in a sort of advertising overload akin to
Times Square, where every square inch of free space is
branded with a product, service, or logo. There, Bloomberg
said, the messages meld together, becoming wholly
indistinguishable and ultimately forgettable.

Without differentiating itself, the web ad industry "becomes
the worst combination of Times Square and those things you
rip out of a magazine," Bloomberg said.

Rather, the web needs to leverage its strengths of
interactivity and personalization to truly differentiate
itself. And it's a tough job, Bloomberg acknowledged,
because online advertising is so heavily a direct
response vehicle. "We need truly unique solutions so that
you stand out from the clutter," he said.

Bloomberg also believes that we can't rely on the web to
radically change the world we live in. Fundamentally, he
said, "the internet isn't that much of an advantage. It's a
great, fantastic tool that makes the way we do business
somewhat better."

But ultimately, it won't radically alter the way we live our

Some things, he pointed out, are simply beyond its
capabilities. For example, few people - if anyone - will
ever buy a car over the internet. The medium simply cannot
convey the subtleties of such a purchase: the feel of the
car door when it's slammed closed and the way it handles a
fast left onto a cross street. "Some things...we still want
to physically touch and see," Bloomberg said.

The internet can, however, greatly streamline the car loan
process, or it can negate the need to stand in line to
register your new vehicle at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
That's an example of the strength of the 'net
at work.

Second Down

Later in the day, McKinsey & Company principals Michael
Zeisser and Tim McGuire talked about the challenges facing
web marketers today. In their view, there are three big
ones: accommodating consumers who want a broader set of
benefits for any given product or service, integrating new
technologies that can support a boatload of customization,
and understanding that consumers are taking control of the
flow of marketing information.

Marketers need to adopt new strategies to accommodate these
new market forces. Like how? Well, take Dell Computer, for
example, which has risen to the challenge by marketing
online with obvious fervor and zest. Dell does it right,
McGuire said, by offering 24/7 phone and web access to
customers, free downloads and upgrades to purchasers, hourly
price adjustments, cutting edge technology, and by passing
on their cost savings to their buyers.

The McKinsey boys consider the internet a "really big deal"
for marketers. Its inherent interactivity, personalization,
community and media richness offer new ways to build brands
- witness Scope's campaign where users can email a "kiss" to
a friend.

So powerful is the potential of the 'net, in fact, that it
will begin to reshape traditional marketing. Just as the
advent of the radio influenced print advertising and the
birth of TV influenced radio, the 'net will so change the
course of marketing as we know it. McKinsey thinks it will
raise the performance expectations for existing media, so
that advertisers will demand more accountability from
campaigns, both on- and off-line.

Rich Media Redux

A morning panel on rich media set out to answer the
question: marketer's dream or web site nightmare? The answer
from the seven-member panel: a resounding "both".

Rich media clearly gets results. Tom Hespos of K2 Design
said that rich media banners generally double an ad's
performance. "Do clients want them? Heck yeah!" he said.

But publishers still have issues with rich media, primarily
regarding bandwidth.

Will the two groups ever come to terms?

Probably. But it will take some time for the market to
mature. Jeff Lehman of RealNetworks wisely observed that a
year ago, a forum on rich media would have attracted only a
handful of people. Yesterday, it brought a full house. "I'd
say there's a lot of money on the table."

The Creative Process

Chief Creative Officer Kyle Shannon and President Aaron
Sugarman of gave their own views of the creative
process vs. the creative product. Here are the

* The process is independent of the result.
* The product is a manifestation of the creative process.
* The creative product is ephemeral.
* The process remains.

Conclusion: Focus on the process, not the product

Focusing on the process rather than the product means,
according to Kyle Shannon, "People other than creatives
can be creative."

Fun Facts

Ad Age's Kate Maddox, who moderated the panel discussion of
rich media, pointed to the following stats:

*52.2 percent of users say they have noticed video ads
*64.3 percent of users are able to view video ads with their
26.5 percent of users are more likely to click on video ads

Quotes Of The Day

"Those concerned about security online don't think twice
about giving their credit card to a waiter in a restaurant.
They give it to some guy with a pony tail and an earring,
who then disappears for 10 minutes." - Michael Bloomberg,
Bloomberg, LP

"The world is changing from marketers finding customers to
one in which customers find marketers." - Michael Zeisser,
McKinsey & Company

"We are living and working on a time when there is one
degree of separation.... No longer do we have borders and
boundaries."- Bob Schmetterer, Chairman and CEO, Euro RSCG

"It was the fact that it was interactive AND relevant." --
Aaron Sugarman of, explaining why an HTML banner
created for Met Life received a 30% click-through rate at
its peak and a sustained click-through rate of 10% over nine
months. The banner calculated insurance rates based on
a user's height and weight.

"This isn't something you can do with Random Digit Dialing."
-- Ann Stephens, president of PC Data, emphasizing that
there are hundreds of billions of data points involved in
measuring online audience activity, and Media
Metrix/RelevantKnowledge are using samples far too small.

"The internet is the only medium in history that wasn't
created by advertising. For the first time, we are on the
outside looking in." -- Bob Schemetterer

"We believe that all roads will eventually lead to the
internet." - Ann Lewnes, manager of Intel's worldwide
advertising group

"Start with the problem first." -- Kyle Shannon of, in response to an attendee who asked: 'Do you
need rich media to be creative?'

"Today, PCs outsell televisions." - Bob Schemetterer

"I think that the days of our URL being buried in an ad
somewhere are hopefully over." - Ann Lewnes

"A new internet user is signing up every 2 seconds." - Bob

"To further shatter the US-centric view, consider that not
the US, but Finland, has the largest concentration of
internet users." - Bob Schemetterer

"Intel understands that the internet is the killer app that
we've all been waiting for." - Ann Lewnes

"In the US, AOL reaches as many homes as Time Warner cable."
- Bob Schemetterer

Tchotchke Of The Day

So many tchotchkes, so little room in the flight bag.

_at_d:tech had some truly inspiring logoed stuff being passed
around on the vendor floor. Worth a mention: the cigar
cutters from Ad Auction, the
insulated lunch bags from Microsoft (,
and the black yoyos from Lycos ,
which at least gave their booth-sitters something to play
with. But the 18-inch doll from Venture Direct
( was the clear winner
yesterday. True, he looked a little like Morey Amsterdam.
But we've never seen HIM at an internet show before, either.


Copyright (C) 1998 ClickZ Corporation. All rights reserved. May
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attribution is given.


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