OPINION: As the online community and mass media continue their childish scrap about which platforms best service advertisers, they are mostly all missing the real point. The real challenge. The reality of consumer communication.
And that, quite simply, is that the ‘advertisement’ as we know it, is on its last gasp deathbed.
No, not just the terminally ill 30-second TV commercial but all conventional advertising.
Ads that appear in print, ads that are broadcast on radio and most importantly, ads that appear online on websites and in apps.
For some time now I have become more and more convinced that conventional advertising, where messages are ‘pushed’ to the consumer, are diminishing in both reach and relevance.
The world is changing fast. Sales statistics are showing convincingly that conventional ads are simply not reaching their target markets with the efficiency of the past and that the consumer is becoming far more inclined to ‘demand’ information as and when it is required.
Consumerism has entered the age of the conversation in which brands and consumers talk to each other. But, having said that, for the moment, the consumer seems quite happy to accept pushed communications in the form of, for example, retail inserts in their local community newspapers.
The key marketing word being ‘community’. But as more and more consumers get used to the online world, these too will lose their appeal as shoppers resort to apps such as PriceCheck and the like to find what they are looking for.
I am not alone in believing that the advertisement as we know it is pretty much obsolete.
In a recent edition of the august advertising journal Advertising Age, Brad Jakeman, the president of PepsiCo’s global beverage group, went so far as to suggest that even the phrase ‘advertising’ should go by the wayside. He did so in front of 2 700 marketing and agency professionals at an event put on by an association that has the word advertising in its name. “Can we stop using the term advertising, which is based on this model of polluting [content],” he said.
“My particular peeve is pre-roll. I hate it,” he added. “What is even worse is that I know the people who are making it know that I’m going to hate it. Why do I know that? Because they tell me how long I am going to have to endure it – 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 15 seconds.
“You only have to watch this crap for another 10 seconds and then you are going to get to the content that you really wanted to see. That is a model of polluting content that is not sustainable.”
Jakeman saved his toughest words for ad agencies. “The agency model that I grew up with largely has not changed today,” he said, noting that he has been in the ad industry for 25 years. “Yet agency CEO’s are sitting there watching retainers disappear… they are looking at clients being way more promiscuous with their agencies than they ever have.”
Continuing the rant, (reported Ad Age), he said that the “global alignment agency is a dinosaur concept” and he questioned the level of innovation. “I am really worried that this model is not going to bend – it’s going to break if we don’t really think about how to innovate,” he said.
Jakeman also ripped the industry’s lack of diversity. “I am sick and tired as a client of sitting in agency meetings with a whole bunch of white straight males talking to me about how we are going to sell our brands that are bought 85% by women,” he said. “Innovation and disruption does not come from homogeneous groups of people.”
Like Jakeman, I spend my life on the client side of the marketing industry and I share his sentiments entirely
Boards of directors, of which I sit on a number, insist that their marketing directors provide them with accurately measured campaigns from which equally accurate returns of marketing funds employed can be calculated.
There is no doubt in my mind that the marketing industry as a whole and the advertising sector from agencies to media in particular, need to give urgent attention to shifting the paradigm that no matter what the platform, the basis of the communication should be the advertisement.
The world has become one in which individuals are target markets and even the notion of B2B and B2C (Business to Business and Business to Consumer) has become irrelevant because it is now just ‘human to human’.
And finally, another profound thought from Brad Jakeman:
He pointed out that big consumer packaged good companies still measured marketing spending as a percentage of net revenue. “That assumes that paid media is the only way to build brands,” he said. “But that is wrong because content generated by others on a brand’s behalf, for instance, “doesn’t cost us a cent”.
Jakeman called ‘digital marketing’ the “most ridiculous term I’ve ever heard”. He added, “There is no such thing as digital marketing. There is marketing – most of which happens to be digital.” He urged marketers to create digital cultures, not digital departments. “We ‘ghettoize’ digital as though it’s the life raft tethered to the big ocean liner. And we have to move on from that.”
My sentiments exactly. And while were at it all those people who talk about “sales and marketing”, ‘PR and marketing’ and my worst, ‘Branding is the new marketing’ should stop being morons and understand that like advertising, packaging, pricing and a host of other inputs, branding, sales and PR are all part of the marketing process.
Exciting times ahead for those who are prepared to start challenging even the most established of marketing paradigms.
IMAGE: Is the traditional advertisement going the way of the dinosaurs?
We would like to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms #AdvertisementIsDead. Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments or tip-offs via e-mail to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to email@example.com.