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Time was, advertising was a relatively simple undertaking: buy some print space and airtime, create the spots, and blast them at a captive audience. Today it’s chaos: while passive viewers still exist, mostly we pick and choose what to consume, ignoring ads with a touch of the DVR remote. Ads are forced to become more like content, and the best aim to engage consumers so much that they pass the material on to friends – by email, Twitter, Facebook – who will pass it on to friends, who will... you get the picture. In the industry, “viral” has become a usefully vague way to describe any campaign that spreads from person to person, acquiring its own momentum.
It’s not that online advertising has eclipsed TV, but it has become its full partner – and in many ways the more substantive one, a medium in which the audience must be earned, not simply bought.
Newsweek, March 26 & April 2, 2012. Adaptado.
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