So how are the ad agencies on Madison Avenue reacting to Facebook's invite to a little gabfest on November 6 with Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the Facebook gang? "You mean this black, plastic monolith?" one industry insider said, flicking the giant plastic invite Facebook sent on the other end. "Uh huh. I got one." Oh, Zuck. You are going to grow up so fast in this big city.
For starters, somebody better go buy Zuck a real pair of shoes. After sending out a hunk of Lucite that reminded Madison Avenue ad agencies of 2000-era Silicon Valley hubris, New York is expecting something big from the Harvard dropout.
That shouldn't be a problem. Allfacebook says the company will launch SocialAds, an ad system that will run ads on and off Facebook, at the event. And a source with inside knowledge told Radar that nine companies — Conde Nast, Nike, Apple, Sony, General Motors, Coke, CBS, Chase, and Verizon — have paid out $300,000 each to be "Landmark Partners" in Facebook big advertising push.
Partners is a key word here. Facebook forbids third-party app developers from referring to themselves as Facebook partners. But advertisers? Bring a big enough budget and you're Facebook's "partner," no problem. Zuck knows where his bread is buttered.
And here's the deal. Though New Yorkers will mock Facebook for the pretensions implied in its invite — "It looks like a box for a CD, but it's not" — they will also all show up on November 6.
"You know about the Facebook event?" I asked one exec.
"You kidding me? Of course."
Ad agencies, my industry source told me, don't understand how to advertise on a social network.
"They need as much guidance as possible. The more sophisticated the targeting, the more Facebook needs to walk them through the process," she said.
Here's a little early guidance: Don't call Facebook a social network. They hate that. Zuck likes "social utility" instead. But Facebook needs help too. Madison Avenue is largely skeptical about Facebook's reported plan to target advertisements based on the information users put in their profiles.
"It's hard to know how serious people are or how strong [consumer] convictions are just based on the content of their profile page," my industry source said.
You have to remember, Silicon Valley, some New York agencies haven't sussed out search marketing yet. It's the main reason Google brought in former Ogilvy & Mather executive Andy Berndt. Agencies don't understand how to help clients use Google, so Google is going around them, a source told me.
Ad agencies don't want that to happen. So, despite the fact that Facebook's invite was "yeah, pretty intense," don't expect many empty seats on November 6.