The Potential Unpleasantness of Advertising's Future Beckons


A great article by Wharton School Professor of Operations Eric Clemsons entitled "Why Advertising Is Failing On The Internet" takes a deep look at the current state (shambles) of advertising and what the future looks like after we all bid adieu to the industry's current lameness.

In a nutshell, and this is not a new line of thinking, it's all about people seeking information (because it's readily available) rather than having it shoved down their throats (as it has been since the dawn of advertising.)

Tired as it is to say, the internet has changed everything. But it really has. Just think for a minute how you go about your daily routine and how integral the internet is to that routine. Could you ever conceivably live without the internet for any period of time? Most would shudder at the thought.

Because the internet has enabled all manner of information retrieval and social networking making it ever so easy to find only what it is you are looking for and to tap your vast network of friends, there is little a person needs outside of this.

OK, well, church, hikes in the woods, a vacation Tahiti but you get the point. In fact, you'd probably use the internet to choose the aforementioned things.

Yes, there are still ad banners here on Adrants. They are here because the monolith that is the ad business will not change fast. Nothing ever really changes as fast as we'd like it too; personal, professional or otherwise. It's just the way of things. But change is coming.

The recession has amplified and increased the speed of these changes but it will be some time before a new model sets in and eradicates the old. The thing is...we can't sit around and wait for it to change around us. We have to take an active role in the change. Because if we don't, life will be a very unpleasant place indeed.

by Steve Hall    Mar-22-09   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion, Trends and Culture   

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Yeah that was a good argument. Most of it is true. The brands that win are going to be the ones that people WANT to hear from. The author assumes no one WANTS to hear from anyone. That's just not true. So that's where content comes in. Someone has to make that content. Someone has to be the "voice of the brand". We ad folks are storytellers. And the time of telling any story loud enough getting you by is over. The brands that tell TRUE stories to their FANS well-enough for those fans to tell other fans will be the ones who win. The liars and cheats will be found out. The brands that are unafraid to be themselves and have real interactions with customers will rise. Call it the Age of Truth.

Posted by: cliffbot on March 22, 2009 6:55 PM

"The author assumes no one WANTS to hear from anyone."

I don't think that's true. I think the assumption is something closer to: The consumer wants to hear what the consumer wants. Online, I look for content, not ads. If I want a product, I read reviews, which provide more helpful information. I'm not interested in an ad, whose purpose is to persuade me, regardless of the facts.

I wrote a longer reaction to Clemons' article here:

Posted by: Clint on June 29, 2009 4:16 PM