Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do We Need To Kill Advertising To Save It?

What would you do if all of the dollars that you spent on advertising this year we’re suddenly back in your budget? And, all of the advertising that you are currently running, whether offline or online, is no longer running?

In other words, you have a clean slate to start over.

Imagine that nobody knows anything about your brand. How would you go about building it? Would you spend the same amount of dollars in the same places that you did previously?

Doubtful, isn’t it.

One of the problems with advertising is that it already exists. When the word “advertising” is mentioned in a conversation, the mental picture we all draw in our heads is more or less the same.

And, in most cases, it’s not a very complimentary picture.

We all know what advertising is. And, maybe that’s the problem.

Maybe what we need to do is kill it.

Maybe the only way that advertising can survive is if it dies.

Because if "advertising” isn’t around, then the way we go about building brands and selling products would be very different.

Would we still try to communicate with people about our products and services?

You bet.

But it wouldn’t be through “advertising.”

What would it be through? I have to believe that it would still be through story telling, but stories that approach people in a very different way. Through cooperation. And participation. And, if the stories are told well, through social syndication.

But not through intrusion. Or, interruption.

In other words, less through paid media. And more through earned media.

"Advertising agencies" would need to be called something else. After all, if they’re no longer doing advertising, well, what are they doing?

And perhaps therein lies the rub.

What are they doing besides spending the client’s money?

To start down this path, this path of a world without "advertising," the first thing you need to do is eliminate the word “advertising” from any and all conversations with your ad agency. No one from the agency side, or your side, can use the word “advertising” when they’re talking about advertising.

See how befuddled they become. See what word they start to use to replace the word “advertising” when they’re talking about advertising.

Because that word they come up with is what you should now be doing.

Whatever that is, is what "advertising" needs to become if it's going to survive.

Because as of now, advertising is dead.

Sometimes things have to die to live.

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