THE HIGHWAY CHALLENGE

Published on .

Most Popular
I detect a subtle and potentially dangerous conceit in your March 7 editorial "No highway without ads" ("Do they believe the superhighway is going to be built without ad dollars coursing through its revenue stream?" "... advertising's role in superhighway building just became more important.")

This attitude is troublesome to me because I do not concede either of these statements as foregone conclusions. Advertising's role in the "building" of the infobahn should not be the advertising culture's equivalent of manifest destiny.

Let's keep things in perspective:

1. Some of the largest and most watched cable networks are viewer supported.

2. Some of the initial "lanes" of the infobahn (e.g., America Online, CompuServe and Internet) are funded by subscription ... and even defended against the intrusion of advertising (online "flaming" of advertisers and advertising is intense at times).

3. The recent Gates/McCaw alliance portends a new cyberspace paradigm for the development of the infobahn-business/government partnerships (stranger bedfellows have been known).

The infobahn is flourishing and we have to accept that (potentially) large segments of the population will be interacting with media that are advertising-free now and forevermore.

I think that most agencies and advertisers suspect, but simply have not accepted, that the future of interactive communications can thrive without our participation. We as a culture and a business will have to work harder than ever to insure an on-ramp onto the infobahn. It is not our divine right; it is possibly our greatest challenge.

Mike Lynn

Media director, McConnaughy

Stein Schmidt Brown

Chicago

In this article: