Tuesday, March 31, 2009

If Advertising Is Dead, Why Is There So Much Of It Everywhere?

Some pundits say advertising's dead.

Others will argue the opposite. "Have you looked around lately?" they will say. Advertising is everywhere. On eggs, for God's sake. Not to mention, in the textbooks middle school kids are using in school.

If advertising is so dead, how come it seems to be so alive?

And maybe the answer is this. Advertising's effectiveness, not advertising itself, is what is dying.

We all know people about whom we can say, "Died at 50. Buried at 60." Well, that's advertising.

The fact is, the lack of advertising's effectiveness is the reason why it seems to be just about everywhere we look. I know, that seems to be a nonsensical statement. But here's why it's not. As resistance to our marketing efforts increased (with consumers getting control over what they watch and when), advertisers have increased their marketing efforts to overcome this resistance.

Not the best of strategies, mind you, when advertisers are no longer the ones in control. It's a bit akin to saying that the beatings will stop once the moral improves. Nice in theory.

The only thing that advertisers have accomplished by increasing their marketing efforts is to increase consumers' resistance to their messages. Which, by the way, they have become quite proficient at, with or without outside help like TiVo.

Any strategies advertisers employ need to take into account that they, the advertisers, are no longer the ones in control. Doing more of the same, only in greater quantity, isn't going to change anything.

Advertisers also have to take into account that everything is transparent. Including how well, or not well, their advertising is working

As consumers increase their resistance to advertising, the exposure to and engagement in the advertising (which is now transparent, and therefore, measurable) isn't high enough justify the cost of creating new and original work.

As the "birth" of new ideas slowly comes to a halt, can the death of advertising as we know it, be far behind?

It's said that a light bulb burns brightest just before it burns out. Not being a scientist, I'll take their word at that. Advertising's light might be at it's maximum glow right now.

Which means even though it seems to be everywhere, it's death has already happened.

We just don't know it yet.

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