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The mark of an era

I went and saw a movie last night. As usual, I got there early and there were ads playing, some for other movies, some for realtors, and several for cars. The one that stuck out most to me was the Honda commercial, not because it was well done, but because of the website they put at the end.

Rather than being www.honda.com, it was facebook.com/Honda. Is Facebook really that big of a communication and advertising platform? Or is it really just a bunch of hype? Obviously Honda thinks that it is a huge opportunity. We've officially reached the "Social Media Networking" era. Rather than the ".com" boom, we're all going to be living in the "Social Networking" boom; where there's a boom, there's sure to be a bust. The explosion that results from the social networking sites, namely Facebook and Twitter, are going to be happening very soon. We've already seen Best Buy advertise their Twitter account and now Honda is advertising their Facebook Fan Page.

So why all the hype? Simple, rather than just being seen once, twice, or even a few times, as with a typical ad, as soon as somebody becomes a Honda "Fan" or a Best Buy "Follower", they get constant updates, ads, etc. from that company. It's real time advertising. It's contextual advertising, too.

Because those people that follow or are fans of a company, the compnay knows that those people are loyal, and as such, they're able to advertise to those people differently. They might say, "Know someone buying a car? Encourage them to buy a Honda, we know they'll love it!" or "Have a good experience with Best Buy? Tweet about it for a chance to win an iPhone!" Then, just like a pyramid scheme, the people who follow the people tweeting or talking about it will talk about it. That is what advertising is all about, getting people interested in, and talking about, your product, service, or idea.

So, is it going to live up to all the hype? Doubtful. Windows Vista had hype. It failed. And failed quite epically. I'm not saying Facebook is going to fail. Quite the opposite, in fact. They're likely to become the next "Google". However, I do have the feeling that people are going to realize that Social Networking is not going to be their savior. It will not make them succesful. Rather, it will take something that is already successful, or should be successful, and make it much more successful. Which is the perfect use case for Honda. It's sad that Chevy and Ford aren't using these technologies. They're good cars, but haven't kept up on the advertising technologies, but that's a story for another day.