"Awarement" is the established form of awareness.
It is becoming more and more obvious that the transparency created by the web is making it harder for advertisers to make over-inflated claims or to be even slightly misleading when it comes to building a story around the brands, products and services they are peddling.
Ad agencies and brand managers are now aware that there is now a huge cultural shift created by the web and that new approaches to communication need to be explored.
Now that the web is an established advertising and entertainment platform we must all step back and reevaluate how we present content to the public. As an industry we must take into account that the bold claims we make are only a click away from being deflated by any number of blogs, chat rooms and review sites.
Today's consumers are savvy enough to click around and get immediate feedback from a very vocal public who have now made it common place to discuss products and services online.
The web is forcing the advertising world to be more accurate storytellers, to enlighten audiences through truth and building honest brand personas rather than the traditional veil that typically shrouds off-line advertising campaigns.
Pretty girls in pretty clothes doing pretty things no longer have the same potency they once did in the form of traditional media like TV and print.
The ascendancy of the web has impacted traditional advertising practices and has forced us all to question the ways we communicate with our audiences. The web demands truth because truth can so easily be found in other places online. Brand owners need to own that truth or others will expose it for them and not in the creative and innovative ways the agencies would have liked.
Immanuel Kant once profoundly said, "Dare to know."
Dare to know
Kant's statement "Dare to know" challenges our audiences to look beyond the façade of what has been fed to them in the form of passive entertainment. The web has started to educate consumers to dig deeper into the products and services they consume and to expose some of the brands that are being introduced into their homes and cultural relationships.
As a consumerist society we are now becoming more fickle about what it is we shove into our pop cultural bag that we all carry around. As consumerists we are now taking an extra minute to Google everything, expanding our options and ways we consume.
The various guises that many brands once relied upon are now destroyed, building a brand successfully online requires a whole new way to tell its story.
Understanding that the user can now simply open a new browser and easily disqualify any claim made by reading a blog post must be at the forefront of every ad creative's mind. In the days of advertisings "Mad Men" you could easily get away with saying whatever it is you wanted about a brand, the public had no way of disqualifying the facts and in many cases the public enjoyed perpetuating the tall tales woven by the advertisers.
Our consumerist society tends to convince themselves that the products and services they consume are special and larger than life. This makes us feel less guilty about the excess in which we squalor.
We are now a web centric heterogeneous multitude teeming online with all kinds of options that fill all kinds of needs that are bred from all kinds of past misconceptions about what it is that we really need to consume in our lives.
The web has enlightened us as consumers to make better choices and not base our opinions on what kind of connections we are making emotionally with the products that are being put in front of us. This forces those of us in the advertising world to abandon the traditional ways we communicate and to be more honest and upfront when communicating online.
In the age of expansion that started around the beginning of the 1500s, the great thinkers and cultural influencers who advocated the enlightenment were convinced that humanity was emerging from centuries of darkness and ignorance into a new age enlightened by reason, science, and humanity.
Today we are in a similar age of expansion where media is forced to become more honest. Whipping up a whimsical tale doesn't cut it any more, the web is about a high impact, personal and honest experience.
When presenting a brand story online we are now forced to entertain the public by using the straight facts and sell our audiences based on the reality of the brand culture and their products' effects on our lives. We are now becoming partial journalists who must adhere to a social responsibility for reporting the truth because the truth is only a click away.
About the Editor, Craig Elimeliah
Having designed, developed and now executive producer for some of the most successful online interactive projects for over 10 years now, Craig Elimeliah represents a new breed of web professionals who is helping to mainstream the interactive realm. Now the Senior Executive Producer at Freedom + Partners, Craig is working with top agencies and high profile clients understand how to develop and integrate traditional advertising onto the web and to establish new standards for the future of online advertising.