Advertising has gone through some huge changes over the last few years. Today, we’re seeing major brands dropping their Superbowl ad spots, newspapers quickly declining in numbers and even online ad spending has dropped for the first time since 2002. Do you think advertising is failing? Perhaps only part of it…
Advertising tends to follow a simple model: provide entertainment to catch people’s attention, then make the pitch. It essentially aims to accomplish two things: Increase Brand Recognition and to Convey a Message. I’ll argue that the latter is no longer effective.
The advertising message is dying.
Today, if you put up a commercial of a guy getting rocked in the balls, people will watch, and probably be entertained, UNTIL you try to sell them the cup. That’s where they tune you out.
So, if people pay attention to the content and ignore the message, we can understand why advertising on the internet is failing. Online, the content isn’t in the ad, it’s on the page. Internet ads, usually just make a sale (there isn’t much room for entertainment), which is what we’ve become so good at ignoring. Online, it’s very easy to take in content without paying any attention to the ads.
One area of advertising that continues to grow is in online video ads and that won’t change soon. As more viewers move from the television to the internet, so will the advertising dollars. Watching a show on hulu feels just like watching it on tv, just with less ads (for now). Similar to television though, the message will be lost. It’s even easier, since you can click on something else for 30 seconds.
It comes down to credibility.
Brands shoot for two kinds of credibility with their advertising campaigns:
- Credibility as a brand
- Credibility in the message
Seeing a well produced ad (especially on television) lends credibility to the brand name. It lets the consumer know that the brand is the real deal. So credibility as a brand is still gained through advertising. Whatever they have to say about their product in that ad, however, has no credibility, and would be lucky to make it in one ear and out the other. Credibility in the message…cut.
Brands, I don’t care what you say your pill does, or how much your competitor sucks. Hearing about it from you, or the actors in your ads, means nothing to me.
So is advertising still worth it simply for the brand credibility? Would businesses be better off investing in other platforms to share their message? How will advertising campaigns adapt to these changes in 2010?