Some years ago, Apple came up with what, to my eyes anyway, seemed like a new online advertising unit. They "roadblocked" "The New York Times," and ran what in digital what in analogue parlance we used to call a "double-truck with gutter."
It was great when Apple did it. Not only did it dominate all around it, other ads and editorial, the ad itself was informative and entertaining. It built in an interesting way on the equity of the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" guys.
Since that time a number of other companies have used the same ad configuration. But the effect of their efforts has been less than salutary. In other words, I resented my newspaper being interrupted so intrusively.
The difference between Apple's permission to interrupt and just about every other advertiser is broad. Apple's work is elegant, informative, interesting and funny. Just about everyone else's was nasty, brutish, and short of 'entertainment value.'
What's been forgotten by just about everyone is Gossage's maxim that (I'm paraphrasing now) "no one reads advertising. But they will read what interests them. And sometimes, that's an ad."
It's easy to say that people will have conversations about brands or that micro-eyebeam targeting (already being used in some precincts in Japan) are the end-all and be-all. That's all well and good. People have been selling magic elixers to life's ailments since the beginning of time.
The fact is there is a magic advertising elixer.
It's called "be interesting."
Or, as Carl Ally wrote nearly half a century ago, "Impart useful consumer information in an executionally brilliant way."