So not surprisingly we see, once again, a money making publishing house with no knowledge of any industry (AV, Control Rooms, Digital Signage, DOOH, teleconferencing, telepresence and more in this case), and no skin in the game (so to speak) either, cobble together meaningless words and pictures, get monies from foolish marketing departments (in return for blatant advertorial) and distribute (in this instance) a 16 page AV supplement in one of the UK’s leading newspapers. Ummm.
How bad is it? Well it’s confused as we thought it would be when we first saw the media pack a few months ago. The main title is ‘BusinessTechnology’ and below that ‘Raise your game‘ and ‘How audio visual communications can bring you closer to your customer’.
Having read through the supplement half a dozen times I can assure you that it will not help any reader understand anything like that at all.
Let’s look at the explicit advertisers first shall we (be in no doubt that every word in this supplement has been paid for in some way so they are NOT the only vendors to have paid to be mentioned in this supplement)…
That disparate set of advertisers, who if you were to draw a Venn diagram of interests would have little or no intersection, pretty much demonstrates how vague and unfocused this particular supplement is.
On page 2 Sue Tabbitt – “a technology journalist covering a broad range of business and IT subjects for the Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and the Guardian blah blah blah” so it says (on her twitter profile she describes herself as a “Fantastic technology/business writer”) writes an incredibly poorly thought out introduction ‘A sight to behold‘ which starts off discussing employees taking their smartphones and iPads to the office and ends somehow with the (supposed) fact that big brands are allocating large budgets to digital media agencies? Yes go figure that as an introduction!
This confusion as to exactly what the supplement is supposed to cover continues throughout…
- Page 4 has half page ‘editorial’ on video conferencing with lots of mentions of Cable&Wireless (so no guesses there then who sponsored that section) and below that an article on how Germany’s motorway operators are reaping the rewards of investing in digital signage for its service stations – sponsored by Philips who supply some of the screens to Tank & Rast who own and run the network
- Page 5 has a full page article by Sue Tabbitt telling the reader that “when it comes to presentation, corporate presenters have a lot to learn from the likes of Derren Brown if they want to keep their audience on the edge of their seats” – Gee thanks Sue. Now I know not to turn my back to the audience while speaking AND be adaptable – reacting to the mood in the room. Obviously Lyonsdown had a full page they needed to fill in the supplement because this particular article is absolute twaddle
- Page 6 has a half page article on Virtual Conferencing most probably sponsored by AVSolution
- Page 7 has half page articles on interactive whiteboards (brought to you, wait for it, by Smart Presentations Ltd) and (we would have thought better of Scala than this) the Digital Revolution which talks about the London Stock Exchange MicroTile installation
- Page 8 explains how ‘digital signage is revolutionising billboards and other public promotional displays’ and talks about Westfield and the Cadbury Egg interactive offerings. The bottom of that page also talks about the ‘Wall of sound’
- Page 9 sees a full page article on video. Yes, so weird is this page that having read it a few times I still don’t know what it is about or who it was trying to promote
- Page 10 sees the usual blatant advert (sorry we mean story) for Spinetix and above that (same page) an article from Vidyo about Telepresence
- Page 11 talks about the Inamo restaurant that we have covered many times (customers can order their food via interactive E-Tables) and below that we have an article discussing Holograms. It’s an incredibly poor and incorrectly titled piece called ‘Beam me up, Scotty‘. The author Tracey Caldwell writes “Imagine being able to teleport leading businesspeople to appear on stage at overseas conferences” WTF? Are we discussing Holograms here and what is it with the cliched Star Trek quote?†
- Page 13 is simply ‘a round-up of the hottest AV technologies currently making the headlines’ and manages to cover iPad, digital signage, hologram, touch tables and video engagement without any coherency whatsoever (again this page looks like a ‘filler’ page when they were running out of advertorial)
- Page 14 covers the hiring of AV professionals (top half of page) and ‘content is king’ (woohoo) lower half which covers IML Worldwide and how they have made events that have used TVT (that’s text, vote, talk for those of you who don’t know) much better (yes we are near the end of the supplement now but trust us it doesn’t get much worse than this)
- Page 15 (thankfully the last page of editorial) really goes completely left field of AV with ‘An advert for the future’ – a blatant fluff piece from NEC on VUKUNET. It’s actually quite well written (as you would expect when you see the contact name at the bottom of the piece) but how this fits into the supplement is anyone’s guess. NEC marketing department obviously has deep pockets but they were poorly advised on this placement
- The supplement ends lower half of page 16 with ‘A touch of innovation’ brought to you by Planar control room
It would be good if we could actually end this review by expressing our surprise at the (poor) level of journalism and research that seems to have driven what can only be described as a waste of print. We can’t though as we are not surprised.
Truly awful does not begin to describe it and those vendors who refused to participate should pat themselves on the back for a near-miss (and money well saved); to those who parted with cash (and it doesn’t matter how much / how little you think you got your ad / advertorial for) you have quite simply wasted your money.
†transporter / teleportation in Star Trek: The Original Series has nothing to do with Holograms.
Perhaps the author was thinking of the Emergency Medical Hologram in Star Trek: Voyager.
Surely demonstrating such a sad lack of knowledge of the Star Trek Franchise, its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise and the eleven feature films