It’s not a Medium, it’s a World

October 10, 2009


OMD have just finished putting together a piece of consumer insight called “Evolution of the Consumer” (see plug below*). One of the most interesting findings, was the accelerating influence of the internet, which inadvertantly seeped through into almost every single macro-trend we looked at.

In exploring how Irish people’s lives and lifestyles have evolved over the last 12 months, we found that the numbers who are shopping and swapping, researching and reviewing, watching and downloading, communicating and networking – using the internet – are all on the up. When we asked our participants where they go for information, across a range wide of  purchase categories, the internet came out on top for Food & Nutrition, Mobiles & Electronics, Motors, Entertainment Content and came out as the second most important source for Household products, Groceries, Healthcare, Cosmetics and Fashion.

The internet is still an unknown quantity for many Irish marketers. With so many people now “online”, we know our brands should be there, but we’re not sure how to get there and we’re not sure if we really belong there.  I think that part of the problem is our paradigm.

We are thinking of “the internet” as a medium, in the same way we think about other media channels TV, Radio, Cinema, Print, Outdoor. Whereas in fact, it’s probably much more accurate to think of “the internet” as a parallel virtual world. This parallel world has all the same things as the real world. It has TV – short form clips, long form episodes and films, user generated content. It has Radio – podcasts, audioclips, live music streaming. It has Outdoor – skyscapers, islands and banners. It has Newspapers – editorial content, forums and blogs. It has Word of Mouth which races across neighbourhood fences. It has shops where you can buy things. There are social places to meet up with friends, communication devices to keep in touch with family and pickup bars to find love.

Using internet as a conduit to your customers isn’t just about advertising or sponsorship, the most prevalent models in other media. Online is about search, content, conversations, response, reputation, editorial – and about a million different things which I don’t know yet and haven’t been developed yet. We need to shift the paradigm through which we see, and talk about, online. The internet is not a new medium, it’s a new world.


*Evolution of the Consumer is an Omnicom Media Group consumer insight project which explores what Irish people are currently thinking and doing, and the implications this has for our clients’ brands for 2009/2010. We worked with leading consumer trend forecaster William Higham, to define the key consumer trends going into 2010, based on behaviours which are globally prevalent.  He defined 8 key macro-trends, which we surveyed locally using Snapshots, our online research tool: Cautious Spending, Bye Bye Bling, Smart Shoppers, Temporary Ownership, Cult of Home, Free, Selfish Green, Trust & Transparency.

If you’d like to find out more, or get a copy of the presentation, email


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