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Integrated advertising doesn’t mean “printegrated” advertising

Integration seems to be the hot topic at every ad agency these days. They are all searching for how to create integrated advertising where ad campaigns can work in tv, print and online. It has been my experience that integrated work comes in one of three forms – printegrated, “integrated” and integrated. Let me explain what I mean.

Printegration is a term I use for advertising where the agency took their print assets and re-arrange the elements to fit the various on-line ad unit sizes they had in their media buy. The resulting ads are usually about as compelling as watching paint dry. All this does is allow the agency to tell their client that they have an integrated campaign but does nothing for the brand and drives no real results.

“Integrated” advertising is when the agency interactive group gets the assignment to create an online campaign to support and existing print or broadcast campaign after that campaign has already been concepted and designed. This is better than printegrated advertising because this method will allow the interactive designers to start with the strategy, objectives and existing campaign look to figure out how to best use the medium to create an online ad campaign. The resulting online will be far more effective than those produced through printegation but since interactive was an after thought it is “integrated” and not integrated.

True integration comes when all the agency creatives from every department concept campaign ideas together and are media agnostic. The idea is king. Everything comes out of the idea. Once the idea works then you worry about how to make TV spots, print ads, online ad units and microsites. This way all the medium can work together to achieve the strategy and get results. Print and TV can drive consumers to the web where you can extend the brand and deepen the campaign interactions.

I would love for this to be a dialogue so let me hear from you. What has your experience been? What challenges have you faced in creating integrated advertising? What have you done that worked or failed?

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