Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Profile - Net Worker, Richard Eyre, Chairman, Interactive Advertising Bureau

Magazine article Marketing

OPINION: Profile - Net Worker, Richard Eyre, Chairman, Interactive Advertising Bureau

Article excerpt

Richard Eyre, one of the media circus' principal ringmasters, is on a mission to woo the crowd to its youngest act: the internet. The former chief executive of Capital Radio, ITV and Pearson Television - and budding novelist of late - is gearing up to evangelise the benefits of the internet to advertisers and agencies alike.

His appointment as chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) sees its youthful, hitherto chief protagonist, Danny Meadows Klue, retain his role as chief executive. 'What I bring is some grey hair and a contacts book of a lot of key decision-makers,' says Eyre.

A mover and shaker he may be, but Eyre is no authority on matters digital.

What has lured him to the IAB is a marketer's hunger to turn around peoples' perceptions - in this case, of a medium that has been roundly battered.

'I'm fascinated by a brand whose potential is bigger than its current delivery. The internet advertising brand is deeply misunderstood,' he says. 'The bulk of the marketing role here is to push down barriers of ignorance.'

Eyre himself was one of the earliest adopters of the web, launching in 1994. But the medium is still reeling from the more recent dotcom boom and bust, with plenty of decision-makers still sore over investments gone astray. So the IAB is preparing to run its first advertising later this spring, through below-the-line agency Masius, championing the medium to the trade.

The organisation's stated ambition is to double the internet's share of ad revenue to 2% within two years. While the IAB has five distinct areas of activity - public affairs, education, marketing, research and the development of standards - Eyre is explicit that his main focus is its marketing role.

First stop is to announce his arrival to umbrella bodies including ISBA, the IPA and the DMA. 'They are extremely interested to work with us to understand the medium better and present it to members in a more electrifying way.' Next, he wants to get on a few conference platforms and bring together some of the internet's foremost practitioners with advertising's decision-makers, and basically, he says, 'do anything that challenges inertia.

The contacts book will come in pretty handy'.

Eyre is contracted to the IAB for five days a month, although in these early days, while he learns his trade, it is more like three a week. His experience and influence is keenly sought far and wide. While the IAB is demanding the most of his energies, Eyre's time is split between a portfolio of half a dozen media interests and non-executive directorships in radio, TV production and mobile content. What he would say to those who might question his commitment to this latest assignment is unprintable - Eyre is a principled media agnostic. …

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