Ogilvy & Mather’s Shelly Lazarus: how to make money on social networks

Great interview with Shelley Lazarus, chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather, in today’s Media Guardian where she suggests how we will make money on social networks.

The issue there is, ‘Yes, it’s a big, big thing, but how do you advertise on it?’.

We’ve yet to figure out how to make [social networking platforms] commercial vehicles, because there’s no question of their role in people’s lives. But what is the killer advertising application?

I’m not convinced banner ads and display ads do all that much. There are guys in the business who will show you those great charts, which say that people spend 20% of their time online and those dumb advertisers only spend 4% of their budgets there. Well, not so fast. How many times do you click on a display ad when you’re online? And if you’re not doing it and your friends aren’t doing it, then you have to ask, who is? I think what the next few years are all about is figuring out how you advertise on the internet beyond display ads.”

But if she thinks Facebook’s moment as an effective advertising platform has yet to arrive, she’s convinced that “branded content” – a term that refers to brands playing an active role in TV drama or made-for-web video, rather than old-style product placement – is an increasingly important part of what advertising agencies do.

We’ve had the experience with Pond’s [skin cream] in this TV show called The Starter Wife. You don’t realise it, but there’s always a moment in the show when, just as the lead character [played by the Will & Grace star Debra Messing], who’s taking life on again after her husband has left her for another woman, goes out into the world, she actually puts Pond’s on her face. Now, that is a really cool thing for a brand. It says, ‘I’m all set, I’m ready to go and take on the world.’

This is part of the future of advertising. All parts of the media are coming together. One of the things we’re doing in Singapore for Johnnie Walker is video-cams in bars. You can check out 25 different bars in Singapore at any one given moment and decide which one you want to go to.

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