Monday, 7 January 2013

Be brutally honest, do you have any idea how advertising works?

How advertising got itself into its present mess. No? Perhaps you console yourself

with the thought that it doesn't matter that you don't have a clue because there

are plenty of smart marketing people out there who do. Well, here's the tricky

part. Yes, those smart marketing people do indeed have a shrewd

idea on how to steer the world out of marketing chaos. The bad news is, they're not

all the same prescription. In fact they are different prescriptions. Very


We snigger at fortune-tellers yet continue to take seriously the word of advertising

and marketing people, professions definable as people who have found a way to retain professorial

tenure even when their predictions turn out to be entirely wrong. Read the rival

pronouncements of the world's top advertising people and you soon find yourself

agreeing that their guess is as good as anybody else's. Because in Marketing

and advertising nobody knows anything! Even more disturbing, the arguments

about Social Media and how to fix advertising that we hear today are but a

queasy echo of those we heard years ago regarding the introduction of Commercial

TV...and didn't that work out well? Similar arguments about involvement, The

Internet, Social Media et al are today being regurgitated over the current

crisis. So what should we be doing? I really don't know except that we should

really study the meaning of the word communication a little more urgently. My

only excuse is that the people we rely on to know don't have a common style either.

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