We all know that advertising is dead... or at the very least not the most effective thing in the world. Two things happened in the last couple of days to get me thinking about it...
1.) A buddy of mine, Mike, loaned me a copy of the book: Adcult USA, a story about the history of advertising. (3 1/2 stars on Amazon).
2.) Another friend of mine just told me about a presentation he went to that talked about the history as well as the current state of advertising. The quick summary was that now companies are using product placements - no surprise there. SIDE NOTE: John Moore of Brand Autopsy posted something funny about product anti-placements.
UPDATE: My friend, over at Blue Lizard posted about the advertising presentation he saw:
According to North Castle Partners, an advertising firm, television advertising could be looked at as having three eras: pre-remote control, remote control and the DVR age. In each of these eras the dynamics where / are distinctly different. Before the remote, the goal of advertising was to “irritate” – or to drop a problem in your lap (such as ring around the collar) and then talk about a product that could help solve the problem. In the remote control era, the objective was to entertain and engage the audience to entice them to not change the channel (think Superbowl commercials). Now, in the DVR era, the objective will be to integrate products into the content – such as placing Coke cups in front of the American Idol judges, etc.
Anyway... if people know that advertising doesn't work, why do they do it?
If I were in charge of advertising at one of these companies I would stop spending that money on ads and start sponsoring television. That's right... no more commercials during the show, no more stupid 2 minute intros like Ford did for that show 24. Just a little graphic of the company logo and a 15 second intro and outro... this show is/was brought to you commercial free by 'X'. I'm sure that this idea is not original... but if it isn't, why hasn't anyone done it? Or have they?
Take this one step further... and learn something from those free trade publications... you know, the ones you get for free because of your industry involvement, like CIO, CFO, etc. Sports Illustrated is now brought to you ad-free by Nike. They don't even have to cough up that much money, they could gobble up a lot of the more narrowly focused magazines like Runners World, Soccer America, etc.
Have you ever signed up for one of those free magazines? Think about all the information you have to provide. What a rich source of consumer data that is. Hmmm.
Give me something I'm interested in. Attach your company name to it and call it a day.
The new Santana CD? Free - brought to you by GM. Okay, that might be pushing it a bit... how about half-off the new Santana CD... brought to you by GM.
What do you think? Would that accomplish at least the same results as spending all that money as the 30-second spot during The West Wing?