We’ve gone beyond: since the summer of 2013, when The Guardian’s style column flippantly remarked that, as a nation, we’d reached ‘peak beard’, every slow news day online has been characterised by wry claims that we’ve summited ‘peak peak’. It’s become peak intolerable. So thank god for digital shift, which tears through trends at such a rate that it evades peak pigeonholing. Take display advertising, for instance. ‘Peak banner’ arrived in 1999; we don’t need trend reports to tell us that standard units have been served beyond saturation point.
That very same year, the subdomain .Blogspot.com was born. By 2003, we were speaking with one World Wide Web voice, in WordPress code and MySpace blurbs. Within the post-display web, the user is at once the creator and the curator: content is served on demand, not on page load, and personal relevance rules the day. Underscoring this is Marc Goldstein, the former President and CEO of Group M, North America, who asserted that ‘people hate advertising in general, but they love advertising in particular’. People hate advertising in general (‘urgh, this countdown is dire, I just want to watch my shows’) but they love advertising in particular (‘did you see that awesome new Nike commercial?!’) – this is because effective content acts as social currency, traded and shared within communities at a grassroots level.
The value of word of mouth marketing transcends CPM rate cards, and its value increases in direct correlation to ‘banner blindness’. We know that influencer marketing has been the calling card of media start-ups for the past five years, however we’ve only just seen its impact on companies’ bottom lines reflected finally in 2015. Let’s take as our case study the beauty industry: billions of ad dollars are invested in the pursuit of eternal youth, however in the post-display world standard format spend is only so effective, according to the trend noted by the industry’s honchos:
‘The brands that grew the most were also very low ad-and-promotion intensive brands, like Urban Decay and Kiehl’s. Urban Decay has no media. Kiehl’s has no media. Many of these brands have no media’
Jean-Paul Agon, Group Chairman and CEO, L’Oréal, Feb 15
‘The fastest growing brands such as M.A.C, Jo Malone, Créme de la Mer and Bobbi Brown are not advertised the traditional way.’
Fabrizio Freda, President and CEO, Estée Lauder, Jul 15