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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Sex, Race and Advertising

Talk about touchy subject.

There have been multiple stories about top advertising executives being excused from their positions due to their remarks- whether worded wrong or actually believed- about women and minorities in the industry.

The majority of the fervor deals with women not being treated fairly, while the lack of minority talent in AdLand continues to take the back seat of the bus.

The latest fall from grace has been Saatchi & Saatchi boss, Kevin Roberts. Yes, the lead behind “Lovemarks”, has left his spot due to some unfortunate wording about women in the industry and the following outrage. The board and holding company leaders had no choice to ask Roberts to leave, even though there could be some debate about exactly how he meant his words.

Unfortunately for Kevin, AdLand is, after all, an industry of wordsmiths. And participating in the conversation about women in AdLand without choosing your words carefully proved to be detrimental.

What then, are we going to discuss?

It is abundantly clear that AdLand has some issues when it comes to racial and gender equality. We are of the school that there is much more to gain on the racial end of the debate, but while the louder voices are of the gender debate, we might as well fight yet another battle worth fighting.

The ranks of the communications industry is filled with women, yet the leadership posts of AdLand are filled with a puzzling and disproportional amount of old, generally white, men. How come?

Yes AdLand, how come?

It’s about time that the AdLand mass is finally sick of this inequality. Let’s welcome this conversation with action and real change. Then, once action is started and the dust settles, we can finally address the race debate.

Then we’ll REALLY see some uncomfortable people.