Is advertising dead? Not the good stuff.

This headline caught my attention the other day: Advertising Is Dead, Long Live Packaging. It was an article from Brandchannel by Ted Mininni.

Advertising dead as a Do Do?But the reason for this blog is to give a different slant on the idea that [tag-tec]advertising[/tag-tec] is dead.

Certainly Ted’s not alone in voicing this trend. Al and Laura Ries wrote a book named The Fall of Advertising & The Rise of PR in 2002. The great interest in “experiential marketing” has gained attention and greater slices of the marketing budget for many companies. And, of course there’s the Internet and the second generation of web marketing, i.e., Social Marketing 2.

Yes, there are nay-sayers galore, and I must admit to being one of them. I deplore advertising for creativity’s sake. I’d say fully a third of the commercials on TV are irrelevant and often incoherent.

The commercials I admire consistently, as a class, are [tag-tec]info-commercials[/tag-tec]. They are benefit oriented; demonstrate that benefit as well as other features and advantages; drive the point through repetition, provide incentives, guarantees and easy ordering, and then ask for the order – more than once.

I doubt they’ll go away. They are successful. People can relate and empathize. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be repeated.

I’m surprised more marketers haven’t at least tried direct sales through direct response TV advertising. Why not advertise, say, a collection of fresh herbs and spices utilizing the celebrity chefs from the Food Channel? How about NFL gear? Craftsman tools?

And of course the Internet presents various opportunities and techniques to practice direct response marketing.

Then there are the various magazines, particularly food oriented and health oriented publications. The ads here are usually helpful, with recipes and/or tips and coupons in profusion. As long as advertisers provide information to help people live better, those ads will be read and the products advertised will become favorites (as long as they’re decent products).

So perhaps it’s just the quirky and distasteful TV advertising most of us have learned to tuned out – while the advertisers get more desperate and ridiculous in attempting to grab our attention – that will finally wither and die.


Martin Jelsema

2 thoughts on “Is advertising dead? Not the good stuff.

  1. Good thoughts, Martin.

    I believe that all men and women in advertising business must spend a year or two on creating info-commercials at first. It will boost their effectiveness.

    The problem is that advertising world today still lives in pushy commercials that do not communicate any reason to buy. In info-commercial world it is unbelievable.

    No, it is not necessary that your commercials look like info-commercials, but experience in direct selling is undoubtedly valuable.

    I see a perfect corporation as a CEO who runs a business blog, a PR staff that comes from social media field, an advertising staff that comes from info-commercials agency. It will be very hard to competitors to fight with such marketing team…

  2. Hi Martin,

    Glad to see that you found my Brandchannel article provocative. That’s what the title was meant to do–stir up a bit of controversy and discussion. It’s always important for all of us to step back, look at the big picture and do some thinking from time to time. . .even if we are in the midst of the day-to-day, isn’t it?

    The points I wanted to make are these: not all advertising is dead. Insofar as many conventional media channels are concerned, advertising is not hitting its target audiences, because those audiences are using largely new media and blocking out a great deal of the conventional. Does that mean all advertising should cease? No. As I pointed out, though, a portion of some advertising budgets, ie, those that are not effective in providing a real ROI, ought to be reallocated into packaging. Why? Everyone is a consumer. Retail environments have become overly crowded with a plethora of choices. Much of the category packaging we see is so similar, brands are becoming hard to discern and differentiate, one from another. Thus, it makes sense to spend on packaging. Advertising in general, may help brands to create some consumer mindshare, but many purchase decisions, as many as 70% are actually made at the retail shelf.

    My message: spend less on advertising and more on packaging since consumers are interacting with actual branded products in retail environments. The more emphasis that we put on differentiated packaging, the more discernible one brand is from the myriad other brands out there. Now, doesn’t that sound like a good investment for any company?

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