Last night marked the launch of BIG (the Bay Area Interactive Group) and what a party it was. Over 525 people were packed the Mezzanine in San Francisco. I haven’t seen this kind of action since, dare I say it, the first Internet bubble. Are we in for a second Internet boom?
As Scot McLernon of CBS MarketWatch announced proudly in a kind of interactive theater on a platform in the middle of the floor, “Rumors of the death of the Internet are greatly exaggerated.” Sure looked it from the bodies swirling around the floor. John Durham added “It started right here in San Francisco, and we’re bringing it back”. Lynn Ingham, Advertising Age chimed in that putting on this party was like “herding cats” but it came together, while Brian Monahan of Universal/McCann said it all hinged around the “power of the brand”. All very obvious statements, yet immensely pleasing to the crowd. After such a miserable four years since the bubble burst in April of 2000, who could not be pleased?
So why did BIG start moving “big-time”? According to Jon Raj, Visa, there are a lot of “good indicators”. Highest in everyone’s minds – the IPO of Google validates the interactive marketing mechanism for ads on the Internet (see How Google Took the Work Out of Selling Advertising). BIG thinks that the continued high cost of TV / radio ads, coupled with the fact that more households are getting high-speed connectivity means we’re at a turning point.