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Michael Bloomberg: Modern advertising is often ‘too clever by half’ but doesn’t sell product

Bloomberg speaking at yesterday's Newfronts event in New York

Bloomberg speaking at yesterday’s Newfronts event in New York

The founder of global business news empire Bloomberg Media claims too much advertising being created by the ad industry globally is ineffective.

Speaking at Bloomberg Media’s Digital Newfronts yesterday, Michael Bloomberg told the audience: “I think a lot of ads are too clever by half and you forget what the product is.

“You have got to explain to me why I should get the message. It doesn’t matter whether I watch the ad the question is do I walk away wanting to buy your service or your product?

“I think a lot of people (in advertising) forgot or get carried away with technology, pizzazz and method of distribution du jour and don’t focus on delivering a service.”

This year’s presentation saw Bloomberg launch Responsive TV, a new digital video functionality that chief digital content officer Josh Topolsky likened to “Tinder for video”.

The technology offers viewers enhanced options for video length, be they small, medium, long or full, and will also provide for easy video viewing across platforms with responsive video advertising around it.

Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York City who has only recently returned to working in the business, highlight its unique and high wealth global audience.

“Since I came back I’ve had a lot of time to travel the world visiting Bloomberg offices,” he said. “And one of the things Bloomberg has done very well is to try and understand the (cultural) differences and tailor our offering for different parts of the world. One of the things I think we can do for the advertising community is help in doing exactly that.

“We have a very unique audience if you think about it. Some people’s paywalls are $120 bucks a year and the New York Times has trouble getting people to sign up.

“We have 320,000 people who pay $22,000 a year – that is our paywall – and they care very much what they get for their $22,000 and they watch very attentively.

“The ability to advertise to those people, a serious group of people, who are very wealthy and spend it. For an advertiser it is a very unique community.”

Bloomberg Media Asked by the audience what his views were about the increasingly blurred lines between editorial and sales Bloomberg said he still believed in “church and state” but said the separation doesn’t mean editorial should get in the way of consumers engaging with advertising.

“We have to make sure there is a clear distinction between the two,” he said. “But our job is also to make sure that that doesn’t take away from people’s interest in looking at the advertisement.

“But we have to maintain our integrity as a news organisation first and foremost and no one should ever think we are going to walk away from that.”

Nic Christensen in New York

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