Ads Won’t Go Away. So Now What?

Mostly everyone involved in intelligent conversation about marketing and advertising can arrive at the inevitable conclusion:

Advertising, regardless the medium, is here to stay.

That much is certain. What remains uncertain, is how the players doing the advertising continue to do it, and how the consumer is influenced by said advertising.

Though the conversations vary widely from AdLand totally disregarding the feelings of consumers, to brands still thinking crowd-sourcing ideas is a way to involve consumers and therefore create a loyal base.

We believe that between those two schools of thought, therein lies a balance.

Yes, we do believe that AdLand does an incredibly horrible job at not only gathering research and feedback from consumers, but using the data it collects to create simple and powerful advertising campaigns. There are some brands that do a terrific job, however those handful of brands and agencies are unable to speak on behalf the under-performing majority.

Yet, we would do our marketing colleagues a massive injustice if we didn’t declare an opinion we have repeatedly share for close to a decade- sometimes the consumer is just plain wrong. Yes, consumers can make bad decisions, make decisions based on irrelevant or misinformed information, or could even use (or intend to use) the product in a way it wasn’t intended. So if the consumer opinion is wrong or doesn’t reflect what the brand wants to do, it is no wonder that a brand or agency would junk the information it received.

So, now what?

Well, it depends. The rumbling within AdLand between the agencies and client-side marketers (brands) is only getting louder. The issue of gender discrimination in the advertising world is blowing up (with hopefully the ethnicity issue after) and those ‘thought leaders’ are falling from grace. It seems that AdLand needs to get its own house in order before it fixes how it operates.

So, it goes.

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Industry as Strong as Our Weakest Colleague

We got the title of this post from a line we wrote in post early on in our role as Lead Blogger for Beyond Madison Avenue.

Looking at it again, it rings truer now than ever before.

We appropriated it to AdLand from its original, sports environment. A football team, soccer team,track team, are all as strong as its weakest teammate, area, or event. Instead of focusing on the strengths, we examine how our vulnerabilities affect our chances of victory.

Likewise in advertising, if our victory is winning over the public, our vulnerability includes those practitioners who lack the sufficient education, reasoning and experience necessary to do the industry justice.

What can AdLand do? The barriers to entry for advertising are much lower than the medical, legal, and engineering practices.

Yet, out of those, advertising garners the most attention from buyers, whether consumer or industrial.

Getting degrees in the practice is one thing, and passing exams administered from the AMA, IABC and the like are another. It still isn’t enough.

We can continue to rely on basic free enterprise principles and hope that the weak ones are phased out naturally. But, if history holds true, those principles do not hold up.

We welcome any suggestions you all might have in fixing AdLand’s weakest link. We’ll revisit this topic soon.