With all the praise for social media and New Marketing being everyone’s favorite blog topic, I think it’s important to not completely bury traditional advertising (broadcast and print, namely).
Advertising is not dead; however, . . . .
- what was once expected from advertising is dead.
- what was considered good advertising is dead.
- what was considered the purpose of advertising is dead.
- what was controllable about advertising is dead.
The reason traditional advertising is not dead is because people still watch TV, they still listen to radio, and they still read magazines and newspapers. Especially certain demographics that many products are targeted to.
At the same time, the reason most traditional advertising isn’t working as well is because it’s still being used in a traditional way.
What’s really happened is that advertising has been discovered as a tactic, a means to an end. In the 60s, 70s and 80s, it was the goal. Good advertising = successful product.
Now, you have to come up with other goals. Real goals. Then you have to figure out how to get there. If traditional advertising can help you get there, then by all means, do it.
Burger King has appeared successful in leveraging some of the newer advertising tactics in the last few years, finding ways to drive interaction to websites, engaging social media and even getting ‘The King’ into some video games. But I can tell you that, if I’m driving down the highway, starving to death, and I see a billboard with a Whopper on it, telling me there’s a Burger King at the next exit, I’m stopping. And it’s not because of those freaky King commercials or the Simponsize Me campaign. It’s because I received a relevant message at the right place and at the right time.
Which might be the simplest way to define good advertising: relevant message + interested target + right place + right time = good ad.
If we can look at advertising as making an impression on the viewer, and then pointing to some next step, then it can still work. If we can advertise in specific media while not annoying the viewer, but rather somehow engaging them, I think it can still work. If we can accept that traditional advertising is going to cost more per conversion (due to Tivo and the mute button and shorter attention spans), then it can still work. If we can see advertising as only part of the process and not the whole shebang, then it can still work.
Most of all, if we can offer something worth advertising, and then find a way to communicate it the way the audience wants to receive it, then it can still work.
Update at 4:30 on March 3: Here’s a very relevant post by Paul commenting on a presentation by Les. Read both – they’re good and apply to what I’m trying to say above.