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The Death of Advertising
August 14, 2008, 2:57 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Sound the alarm bells and clutch your Cannes Lions close! Prepare to see the advertising world as you know it disappear!

…or so they’ve been saying. Years later, the advertising world is still waiting for the apocalypse and it’s just not coming.

There’s plenty of arguments as to why advertising as we know it is dead, or dying. The usual suspect to be cited is that the average consumer (American, I assume) sees about 300 advertising messages a day. Filtering out the facts from the junk is becoming too hard, and (being lazy) consumers just stop listening altogether. Same same, but different? Nope, just the same.

With everyone now using advertising as a standard method of promotions, standing out from the crowd has become a matter of using different methods of communication. As the (not to be named) creative director of a major ad agency said (about a week before leaving for a PR consultancy), you can be as creative as you like but people will just ignore you.

I don’t think it will die and if it does it will be back soon enough…here’s why.

As accustomed to advertising as we may be, it’s not wholly a bad thing. Advertising is something that pretty much everyone understands. It’s a tried and true way of getting a message across, and from the client side that counts for a lot. And the more that advertisers move their communications into other methods, the less clutter there will be and the more incentive to go back to previous methods to differentiate. Direct marketing, once the establishment, is now a more novel way to communicate and can be a deadly marketing weapon.

PR even now is starting to lose its credibility, which was its drawcard in the first place. In fact, every commercial communication method which starts to gain any traction is going to suffer the same issue as more and more communicators use it. At least advertising, on the most part, isn’t pretending to be something it isn’t.

So advertising as the one-and-all solution may be dying out (and I’m sorry to anybody who just got on the bandwagon after watching the Gruen Transfer) but it certainly isn’t dead. Mostly we need to realise that you need to take a strategic perspective on communications and that if advertising is going to be a major tool for you, it’s going to be tough.

[On a side note, the inspiration from this came from catching part of a conversation on a pedestrian crossing, where two people were discussing an advertising course that I took while on exchange in Singapore. Maybe viral really is the way of the future.]

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Comment by Ben Waugh

[…] greater and greater emphasis being placed on networking, I wonder if it will go the same way as advertising. After all, networking is a bit like direct marketing for your personal brand – and with more […]

Pingback by Networking in the naughties « how good you want to be




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