Before you read this I want to make it clear that I am in no way disappointed by Microsoft as a customer (of mine in this case). Furthermore, I did what is described below primarily to illustrate a point, not to specifically make any extra money.  I really hope that I have not offended anyone. In any case, to my best knowledge no one has ever before sold advertising space (compare a 60 second commercial) in a conference presentation. I did, and it was thought stimulating as well as fun. The audience seemed to agree :-). Even so, I have no plans or intentions to do it again.

Last Friday I did a gig (in Swedish) for Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, following CEO Steve Ballmer when he key noted about their expanded services in the area of online advertising. The audience at this INNOVATE event consisted of about 100+ personally invited representatives from the Swedish ad media scene, read primarily big media buyers/agencies. My task was to during 30 minutes:

  • in an engaging and interesting fashion tell about the current changes in media consumption
  • touch upon consequences for brands using media to talk to their target group
  • present with an ”attitude” so that claims and open questions provoke thoughts

Whan I first was approached by a Microsoft representative inquiring about my services I forwarded him to my (former) speakers agency. They ended up recommending me to accept Microsofts policy not to pay speakers for this kind of assignments. Whereas I do understand the value of appearing in close proximity to Mr. Ballmer, I considered this to be a presentation not paid for – by Microsoft. Hence, it could be described as ”free”. But as with any content, someone must pay in the end. Well, I decided to implement an attitudinal play with the notion of ”free, but paid by advertising”. Hence I looked for an advertiser who saw the value of buying 60 seconds of my presentation. As a result I sold space in my gig to .se, the Swedish administrator of our countrys top domain. They made a video featuring CEO Danny Aerts promoting .se’s upcoming conference Internetdagarna (November 5-6, in Swedish).

In short, in the presentation I introduced myself and mentioned that the gig was not paid for by Microsoft. Then about 1/3 into the gig I ran .se:s ad. After it I immediately remarked that this was my way to get money for the content I provided. Then I continued by highlighting key findings from a study of why people put affiliate banners in their blogs. (Yes, for money, but also for credibility, brand appropriation, aesthetics, and more…). The whole presentation will soon be available in the weconverse videos section.

Here is an edited excerpt from my presentation. Even though it is in Swedish and you might not understand what is being said, I hope it add some meaning to my textual description.

I am very grateful for your comments. Good/bad idea? Not so new? Should perhaps presentations be the source of a new kind of media? Please let us know.