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Advertising has always been an industry vulnerable to critique, backlash, and frankly, a lot of scrutiny on one’s content and message. With that in mind, advertisers have found it increasingly difficult to find platforms where their messages have the right reach and intended effect without all the ugliness that might ensue.

These issues have all been exacerbated by the onslaught of digital advertising. Though yes, you could argue that digital methods are able to reach far wider swaths of audiences than other traditional forms, but at what cost?

There is a significant monetary cost associated with digital advertising that is often overlooked, as well as social costs. The monetary costs might initially seem less than previously used traditional methods, but the return on investment often tends to be the same as using traditional methods.

Moreover, the social cost (especially a potential backlash) can make digital advertising that much riskier. There is a large amount of divisive content that seems to have found its home on social media and continues to be spread – having your brand associated with that kind of content, whether intentional or unintentional, can often be the kiss of death for a business. The fake and untrue news is another facet of social media that can be divisive and destructive for a brand if they are somehow associated with it.

The minefield associated with digital advertising can make it a headache, mainly because of the large amounts of user-generated content these networks see and the lack of regulation in the content itself.

Social media platforms are creating large amounts of engagement, that much is certain, but if it is not the right kind of engagement, is it worth navigating the minefield?

Some brands are now starting to understand the pitfalls associated and are working through the best options. It is no wonder that big advertisers are beginning to think twice about where to allocate their advertising dollars– especially ones that have larger budgets on the line that must see a real return on investment with these platforms. For example, Unilever recently announced that they would no longer advertise on platforms that are not actively pursuing the fight against fake news, divisive content and inflammatory speech and language.

The Chief Marketing Officer of Unilever, Keith Weed, made the following statement while attending a leadership conference earlier this week:

“Unilever will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create division in society, and promote anger or hate”

The writing is on the wall for social media platforms, and it is clear that statements like these put social media’s backs up against a wall (double pun mostly intended) in how they forge forward. They know they must clean up their networks, but how?

Performing arts program book advertising is one of the few outlets of advertising left that really provides results. Not only does it encourage high-quality informative content from their advertisers, but it provides willing audiences that will consume that content. Rather than fight for a few seconds of attention on a newsfeed, performing arts program book advertising will (quite literally) drop your message on the laps of audiences and give you an attentive audience.

For over 100 years and counting, performing arts program books have provided quality content and advertising, both from an advertiser standpoint and a consumer standpoint. While digital methods have their place in this sphere, it still cannot compete with the reach a performing arts program book can have in terms of sheer demographics and audience–more reading on that can be found here.

The truth is, user-generated platforms will face these issues consistently. However, there are methods of advertising that have lasted for decades because they are tried and tested – and they come with minimal risks of backlash comparatively.

Performing arts program books are a great method to reach a wide audience in a far more meaningful manner, and this goes a much longer way in building your brand compared to a fleeting Instagram post. Good selling!

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