Dead is Dead: New Tech and Its Lazarus Effect

Dead is Dead: New Tech and Its Lazarus Effect

The 30 second spot is dead.

Radio is dead.

Print is dead.

Advertising is dead.

We’ve heard it all before. As the advertising and communications world continues to evolve at lightening speed, there is no shortage of industry pundits willing to climb to the crow’s nest and shout iceberg to anyone who will listen. X is dead, they say. Now whether they do this because it makes a great article headline, or because they legitimately believe that we’re entering the end of days for traditional advertising is anyone’s guess. But, for right now I’ll assume they believe what they’re saying, and throw down a blanket statement of my own:

Dead is dead.

We as an industry need to stop looking for the next big thing, and pay more attention to the big things—all of them. Advertising’s holy trinity of radio, television and print has expanded and is looking more polytheistic than ever before—social media, mobile, online, location-based, CRM etc. But, that doesn’t mean the big three are dead.

Instead, these new mediums have started to breathe new life into the old standbys by creating interesting new hybrids that deliver messages and brand experiences in new and exciting ways. In essence, they’ve killed dead…dead.

For example, this new campaign for Axa insurance uses a TV spot to deliver a QR code, which seamlessly merges the content of the spot with a mobile experience and eventually leads to the company’s app. Each medium plays an equally important role in delivering the experience and extends the typical 30 second tv spot to a broader integrated experience that encourages the viewer to spend more time with the brand and, most importantly, its message.

This Volkswagen print ad also blurs the line between the physical and digital world as well as print and mobile as mediums. It works with a mobile app that recognizes the road pictured on the print execution and lets readers literally “test drive” a car on the print ad using their smart phone. Like the Axa ad, the lines of medium are blurred as each plays a pivotal role in creating the overall experience. Is it a print ad or is it a mobile ad? A probile ad?

With more of these medium blurring executions being developed every day, it seems that mediums that many claimed were dead have, like slasher film villains, returned bigger, badder and ready to fight. I don’t think we’re witnessing the end of any mediums; instead, we’re seeing the death throes of the concept of a medium as a singular element in the communications landscape. As mediums continue to become more interdependent, the idea of a singular medium eventually will be, dare I say it, dead.


  1. Heleena

    Great post Luke. I agree, it’s important for marketers and advertisers to find ways to converge new technologies with more traditional outlets. As your examples show, not only does this invite the user to interact with the ad, but the creative opportunities are endless. Enjoyed the read!

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