Saturday, August 14, 2010

July 10 - Time Out!

Seems like hardly a day goes by in 21st century adland where someone or other doesn’t proclaim the imminent demise of something or other.

I’m probably as guilty of this as the next person, but I currently have an overwhelming urge to stand up and shout, time out people!

Never before have so many people been so dogmatic.

Self anointed social media gurus proclaim the death of television. Digital divas constantly deride so called old fashioned advertising agencies. And kids armed with nothing more than a blog comment anonymously deride the work and words of others.

Like I said - Time out people!

There no valid excuse for much of the bad advertising we find ourselves surrounded by. Thing is, many of those bad ads started life as a great idea. So how does a great idea become a bad ad?

To be honest, that’s a story worthy of an entire issue of this magazine. Everyone involved in making an ad has the best intentions. But somehow along the way the original idea simply gets whittled away. Bit by bit by bit.

So rather than sitting on our high horses deriding the product produced by our industry, how ‘bout we start looking for a solution. Because if we don’t, we may well see the death of the 30 second spot.

Talking of which, when Joseph Jaffe coined that term for his popular new marketing manifesto he made what seemed at the time a valid point - People don’t want to be interrupted by advertising.

So why are many of the most popular videos doing the rounds on YouTube ads? If the public don’t like them, why do they seek them out on YouTube.

Because they’re good, that’s why.

Which makes me think that Jaffe’s original manifesto may need to be fine tuned a little. Rather than simply saying that people don’t like advertising, perhaps he should write a new book about how people don’t like bad advertising.

And one place where we see a hell of a lot of bad advertising is on the internet. Honestly, when was the last time you saw a banner ad and thought to yourself, gee I wish I’d done that? Probably never I’d imagine.

Of course the social media mavens will seize upon that last sentence and say that banner ads are interruptive, so are part of the advertising problem.

They’re right of course, but again the problem as I see it isn’t interruption per se, it’s bad advertising.

If banners ads were created to engage, perhaps people would like them more. But at the moment most of them suffer from poor production values and even poorer quality creative.

Regular readers of this column will know that I have long been an advocate for the use of social media in new generation marketing. But social media isn’t the cure all panacea that vocal Twitter users claim it to be.

Sure Facebook has more users than even Mark Zuckerberg thought possible, and Twitter continues to grow in influence and importance, but that doesn’t mean we have to abandon everything that has gone before.

As I said about 500 or so words ago, we need to declare an industry time out.

Rather than digital agencies taking pot shots at traditional agencies, and social media opinion makers paying out on anyone who’s never uploaded a photo to Facebook, how ‘bout we all take a few moments to take stock.

Every medium has its place in the marketing mix.

An agency is an agency, what’s important are the brands they work with, not the media they choose to run their work in.

And the one thing we’re all guilty of is mistaking the consumer’s hatred of poor quality advertising for a dislike of advertising generally.


Chris said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. BTW Jaffe may have coined the phrase but his book was highly derivative. Plus he's kind of annoying.

Zac Martin said...

Good write up, but there's a big difference between a good ad interrupting you and a good ad that you search out at a time that suits you and probably at the recommendation of a friend with context.

Stan Lee said...

As you would expect Zac, I have to disagree. A good ad is a good ad. If it engages you and makes you act, changes your behaviour or simply plants a seed, it's job is done. No matter how you came to view it.