Wednesday, 13 March 2013


Is buzz no more valuable than an ad?

What if the experts are wrong and ads are just as persuasive as buzz? This can't

be possible, can it? The experts have told us that there is a new breed of human

being out there who no longer wants to be marketed to. She pays no attention

to ads. She is immune to the "interruption model" and we need to get her

"permission" to market to her.

Not so fast, says David Michaelson Co., a New York-based company that

studies measurement of communications effectiveness,and has compared the

effect of publicity with traditional advertising in a controlled experiment. He

and a co-author presented research subjects with a faked ad for an invented

product, and a faked newspaper article about the same product. On a scale of 1

to 10, the article was a 10 "from the standpoint of a publicist's dream article,"

Dr. Michaelson says. Yet their study showed that the article was no more

effective than the ad in building brand awareness. Now here's something to

think about. I have no idea of the validity of this study. But if it's true that

people are not terribly moved by "buzz" in reputable media like newspapers,

how much power do you think buzz has in dopey social media like blogs, and

Twitter and Facebook?

Maybe buzz is exactly what it sounds like -- just a lot of mouths yapping.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013



On-line research has some major advantages.

It is often less expensive than standard methods and also quicker to yield results. However, as currentlypracticed, it is fatally flawed."We're perpetuating a fraud," is what Simon Chadwick has to say. Mr. Chadwick is former head of NOP Research in the U.K. and is now principal of Cambiar, a Phoenix consultancy.

Surveys tend to poll the same people over and over.In fact, a study done by ComScore Networks indicated that one-quarter of one percent of the population provides about one-third of all on-line responses. This means that instead of getting one vote, each of these respondents is getting the equivalent of 128 votes.We are getting the same people responding over and over again to earn points so they can win a toaster. Or as Mr. Chadwick calls them, "professional respondents who go hunting for...dollars. What's so terrible about professional

respondents, you might ask? Pulitzer Prize winning New York

Times science writer Natalie Angier says: Nothing tarnishes the

credibility of a sample like the desire to be sampled.... a good pollster will

hound and re-hound the very people who least want to cooperate. So not

only are these people ridiculously over-represented, they are the wrong

people. "It's like the hole in the ozone layer," said Shari Morwood,

VP-worldwide market research at IBM in an article in Advertising

Age. "Everyone knows it's a growing problem. But they just ignore it and

go on to the next project." Kim Dedeker, VP-consumer and market

knowledge at P&G, describes an example in which online and mail surveys

came up with diametrical results. "If I only had the online result.... I would have

taken a bad decision right to the top management," she said. In another case,

two surveys conducted a week apart by the same online researcher yielded

completely different recommendations. Furthermore, most of these on-line

researchers don't validate their samples. They don't know who is responding. It

could be my daughter using my computer saying she's me. Or saying she's you

for that matter. And if all that weren't enough, many of them don't limit


I can log in as five different people and respond five different times. Or

fifty. Or a hundred and twenty-eight. Another lovely bit of hokum they

perpetrate is the degree of confidence. They tell us that their results are

accurate with a 95% degree of confidence. However, they never quite tell

us what it is that they're confident about. Is it that, in general, a study with

this many legitimate respondents will be statistically valid 95% of the time? Or

is it that their interpretation of subjective data will be 95% accurate (by the

way, no one's interpretation of subjective data is 95% accurate) Or is it

something else? Let's give them the benefit of the doubt for a minute and

say that their sample is legitimate (which is highly unlikely) and that they

are brilliant people who can interpret data almost flawlessly. Let's take a

look at what 95% degree of confidence means under the best of circumstances.

Once again we'll turn to Ms. Angier from her book The Canon. Here's an

example she gives. You go for an HIV test. You test positive. The test is said

to be 95% accurate. This means you have a 95% chance of having the HIV

virus, right? Not even close. What it means is that 95% of the time people who

have the HIV virus will test positive. But it also means that 5% of the time

people who do not have the HIV virus will test positive. Now let's say

you live in a town with 100,000 people. Fortunately, the HIV virus is very rare

and only appears in 1 person out of 350. So in your town of 100,000 people,

this means that there will be about 285 people with the HIV virus (100,000

divided by 350). But if we tested all the people in your town, we would get

about 5,000 positives (remember, 5% of the time people who do not have the

virus will test positive) and almost all of these 5,000 positives would be

false.,mIn fact when you do the math, after testing positive not only is

there not a 95% chance you have the virus, there is about a 5% chance you have

it. And an almost 95% chance you don't have the virus.* So much for a 95%

level of confidence.We advertising and marketing people are drowning in

opinions and starving for facts. But we have to be very careful about

distinguishing between the two. In the advertising world, research is no

different from creative work. Some of it is very good, some of it is worthless

and dangerous.To figure out the accuracy of the result, you divide the total

number of true positives you'd expect from your sample (95% of 285, or 271)

by the total number of true and false positives (5,257) and you wind up with a

probability of having the HIV virus is actually about 5.2%, not 95%. If you

can't follow the math, and you don't trust me, don't worry. You can trust Ms.

Angier, she has a Pulitzer Prize. All I have interactive marketing


An article in American Express says, "not so fast".

Senior marketers were asked which components of their current digital

marketing programs"search, email, display advertising, social networking, and

mobile advertising"delivered the best results. Only 11% cited social


As you know,IMG is highly skeptical of this type of research. The remarkable

thing, however, is that with social media getting so much hype, the tendency of

people who have invested in it would be to exaggerate its effectiveness.

Instead, it was tied for effectiveness with "I don't know." Marketers also said

that social media is significantly less effective than banner ads (display

advertising), and I just don't know how anything can be less effective than that.

Mobile advertising, by the way, didn't even make the chart. As I said 6 months

ago in a previous posting. "IMG predicts that when the frenzy over Facebook,

Twitter, and other social media calms down and the dust clears, email and

search will continue to be the dreariest and most productive forms of online


Discover the surprising benefits of using interactive marketing communication

contact PaulAshby on or (UK Landline) 01934


Monday, 11 March 2013


"What was once digital advertising's dirty little secret is now

its big, ugly problem. Online ad performance figures are dismal..."



Any way you slice it, the key fact is that 15 years after its inception, I

cannot come up with the name of one major consumer-facing non-native

brand that has been built primarily by web advertising. It is encouraging,

however, to see some people within the web advertising community finally

coming out and admitting the shortcomings. Maybe if

more web advertising people would stand up and acknowledge the issues

they could help the web become what we all want it to be -- a more

effective advertising medium.

Want more information on Interactive Marketing Communication?

Contact Paul Ashby : or (UK Landline) 01934


About 2 months ago I wrote a piece called "Social Media's Massive Failure".

It was about the failure of the Pepsi Refresh Project. Most of you disagreed

with my observations that the Refresh effort was a failure. Recently The New

Yorker published an article called "Snacks for a Fat Planet". It isn't specifically

about the Refresh project.

It is about PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi's attempt to transform the

company from the world's largest maker of soda and crappy food into a

company with respectable standards and values. It is actually a very interesting

article and Nooyi comes off as an intelligent, thoughtful but somewhat jargony

leader.The article talks about Refresh as part of Pepsi's desire

to be perceived as a "good" company ...the strategy was to use social media to

promote the image of PepsiCo... to bring the flagship brand more in line with

PepsiCo's "performance with purpose" agenda...Then it goes on to note that

Pepsi's share had dropped 4.8% since the program was introduced.

... the Refresh campaign garnered more than eighty million votes,

got three and a half million likes on Pepsi's Facebook page, and drew some

sixty thousand Twitter followers. But the campaign didn't sell Pepsi.Which to

my ear sounds an awful lot like this paragraph from Social Media's Massive


"Over 80 million votes were registered; almost 3.5 million

"likes" on the Pepsi Facebook page; almost 60,000 Twitter followers. The only

thing it failed to do was sell Pepsi." The article concludes...

"It appears that hearing about all the good things that PepsiCo is doing to help

make the world a better place does not tempt you to down a

Pepsi". As we know, there are many in the marketing world who

cannot see the limitations of social media, no matter how compelling the

evidence. Consequently, those of us with open minds and functional synapses

need to remain skeptical and vocal about the "magic" of social media.

"Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to

believe." -- Euripides

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Do You Understand Why We Need Interactive Communication - urgently?


Quite simply it is the human desire for interaction.

All advertising is a form of learning whereby the advertiser is asking people to change their

behaviour after learning the benefits of the products or services on offer. However, we all

tend to filter out information that we do not want to hear. This clearly alters the effectiveness

of conventional advertising in quite a dramatic way.

The final purchase decision is invariably a compromise and this leads to a certain amount of

anxiety; the worry that perhaps the decision was not the best or the right one. In order to

minimize this anxiety the purchaser seeks to reinforce their choice and begins to take more

notice of their chosen product's marketing communications. Additionally we have created a

media society during the past 40 or 50 years, where the whole communication process has

been de-humanized and depersonalized.

Together with an extraordinary reduction in interaction because conventional media together

with advertising and marketing have become a one-way practice whereby information is

disseminated in a passive form. People have this desire to be taken account of. To affect

change, to learn and personalize their relationship with their environment. There are a

phenomenal number of reasons that cause people to interact, going far beyond just giving

them things.

When people agree to participate in truly interactive marketing programmes they are told that

their efforts and feedback are of positive help to the advertisers. Additionally the attraction of

interactive communication is that it is a return to the prehistoric human fascination with telling tales!


People long for more connection between what we do for a living and what we genuinely care

about. We long for release from anonymity, to be seen as who we feel ourselves to be

rather than the sum of abstract metrics and parameters. We long to be part

of a world that makes sense rather than accept the accidental alienation

imposed by market forces too large to grasp; to even contemplate.

Commerce is a natural part of human life but is has become increasingly

unnatural over the intervening centuries, gradually divorcing itself from the

very people on whom it depends, whether workers or customers. The result has

been to create a huge chasm between buyers and sellers.

Advertising's failure! Conventional advertising has failed the natural human need for social

interaction. We have created a media society during the last 30 or 40 years

where there is an extraordinary reduction in interaction because of the one-way

and more passive form of information that exists. People desire to be taken

account of, to affect change, learn and personalize their relationships with

their environment. These psychological and sociological factors are part of the

incentive to interact with advertising.




Saturday, 9 March 2013

Do you agree that Today, the ad industry is being overrun with people who have no idea what is universal and what is transient in our business?


They are not being taught principles, they are being taught tactics.To them,

Bernbach, Ogilvy and Riney are just names of old dead guys. They never heard

of Ally and Gargano or Scali, McCabe, Sloves. They have no idea what these

people and organizations did, or stood for, or taught us about advertising.

It's our own fault.

No one is willing to take the time to learn the history so he, or she, can

teach it. Our own industry organizations - particularly the I.P.A - are

prime culprits. By desperately trying to remain "relevant" they have sounded a

constant drumbeat about "digital changing everything" that is not only false, it

undermines the importance of young peoples' need to learn the history and

principles of our trade.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Are you looking to engage the voices of consumers with your brands?


Help your Clients Face the Challenge of Innovation

Clients need solutions that allow their brands to engage with their consumers

and get the results they need to move their marketing strategy forward.

Interactive marketing communication is the key to helping clients innovate.

A year after first asking the question above, the answer is still "No." Too

many agencies still are not making themselves an integral part of the new

reality. As the world becomes more digitally connected, we should celebrate the

fact that marketing and advertising ideas are coming from everywhere. For me,

it's inspiring to see the radical evolution of an industry and watch individuals

take control of a once-closed society made up of Mad Men. The new world can

be scary for people who still work in the old model. We get that. Change is


But it's also a reality.

Part of that reality is the fact that
Advertising ignores communication theory.

As the mass media have matured, the behavioural dynamics of perception and interaction, which were not address by Advertising Agencies in the 70s and 80s, during the explosive growth of advertising have become critical to the redefinition of media and its role in marketing communication. With passive, one way, forms of advertising such as media displays or television advertising, there is a certainty of a degree of non-response.

Lack of communication competence.

Most Advertising Agencies lack the skills of communication, advertising messages are more carefully prepared than interpersonal communication and yet ‘message’ comprehension tends to be lower.

Advertisements are more carefully prepared because gatekeepers (those who

prepare and send out messages) are more cautious about what they say to large

audiences than they are to audiences of one or a few, they check their facts

more carefully and they prepare their syntax and vocabulary more precisely.

And yet, because their audience contributes much less feedback, the source

cannot correct for any lapse or understanding, so people are more likely to

misinterpret what they hear or read over the mass media.

The need for Interactive Marketing Communication.

Put simply, because there is a human desire for interaction. We have created a media society during the past 40 or 50 years where there is an extraordinary reduction in interaction because of the one-way and more passive form of information retrieval that exists.

People desire to be taken account of, to affect change, learn and personalise their relationships with their environment. There are a phenomenal number of reasons, which cause people to interact, which go far beyond just giving them things.

Are you doing anything about Swinging back the web clutter?

Last summer, Starcom released a major study on internet clutter finding that the more ads on a page, the more click-through rates, brand impact and product consideration decline. Jeff Marshall, senior VP-director of the firm's online arm, said since the dot-com bubble burst, many sites have cleaned themselves up. But "not everybody's moved that way. ... We may see that pendulum switch back toward clutter."

And then there's mobile marketing, where perhaps the greatest risk lies for a new avalanche of commercial content. Though hailed as one of the ad business' great growth areas, it hasn't really taken off, partly because the jury's still out on just how receptive consumers are to commercial messaging on their phones. One commenter from New York City gave this no-duh perspective: "The cellphone is way to [sic] personal to be considered another advert medium. If companies start slamming people with messages, people will be turned off."

In the end, permission marketing may be advertisers' best bet for gaining acceptance in emerging media that don't come with social contracts of the kind that's governed, say, the TV business for so long -- that is, viewers' tacit willingness to put up with ads since that revenue's underwriting the programming they enjoy.

"Anytime there's a new destination for people, like YouTube or mobile phones, the assumption is we've got to find a way to put some ads there," Mr. Barocci said. "That's just going to make things worse because there's no social contract. If mobile-phone companies say, 'We'll reduce your bill if you accept ads,' then that's a contract and that's smart."




Are We becoming more and more distracted by the various media that continues to proliferate under advertising's largess?

As advertisers spend more, they extend media's restless tentacles, thus

distracting us to the point where marketers have to spend yet more to regain our

attention (if they ever had it in the first place!)

All the mounting evidence that advertising doesn't work goes totally ignored.

Recently it was written that most marketing (theory and practice) is wish

driven. The work on advertising effectiveness convincingly proves that there is

no evidence that advertising persuades anybody to do anything; advertising can

only be a 'weak' force.

The sad thing is that all this evidence is studiously ignored by many

sections of the marketing community, resulting in the terrible situation we are

witnessing to-day. Many goals set in marketing are unrealistic. They are

therefore doomed to failure from the start. Such romantic marketing dreams

include sustained growth, brand differentiation, persuasive advertising, and are

totally unrealistic!

Now, in addition, we have the craven-image of dotcom dementia 2.0

The problem is that the articles of faith among those who conquered their

fear, denial, blind faith and desperate attachments to the status quo

("Advertising works") now face the gathering reality of the chaos scenario! With

most advertising these days where is one iota of information which will


Mostly they don't tell consumers anything that matters, instead leaving that

heavy lifting to other, less sexy marketing efforts

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Do You agree that Once Upon a Time…?

We had the likes of Leo Burnett, David Ogilvy et al. And they were the

keepers of the flame of advertising. Nowadays no aspect of advertising

is as badly served as advertising itself. Where to day are the advertising

voices that ring out as intelligent, passionate, current, and, more importantly,

critical of current advertising practices?

Can you, for one moment, even imagine David Ogilvy not giving sarcastic comment to some of what

passes for advertising these days , especially the use of the new technology?

Once upon a time we had an excellent heritage of critical

writing on advertising. Unfortunately to day no one speaks with any authority

either for or against advertising. In our current trade press the

lexicon of adjectives used by critics of advertising is zilch, nada,nothing!

Even worse, the banality of what passes for intelligent commentary on all

aspects of marketing/advertising is simply that , banal! The current

crop of writers have forgotten that their first calling is to write readable,

intelligent and amusing articles. Because like everything else advertising needs

strong criticism, it needs that to keep advertising strong and innovative. Bad

advertising, and there happens to be a lot of it around these days, drives out

good advertising unless there is someone there to stop it. The current

crop of writers and what they have to say about advertising is growing in

irrelevance. Sometimes I feel that, when reading the marketing/advertising press

that they have no idea who they are writing for. Sadly, a myopic tunnel vision

is bought to bear on the subject currently in vogue , in this instance Web

2.0. However what is really worrying is the fact that, in the instance

of Web 2.0, there is no debate as to the suitability of Web 2.0 as an

advertising medium, there is no debate as to the claims of it being accountable.

Which, by the way, it isn't, it is too susceptible to all types of fraud and

manipulation! And there is absolutely no discussion on the huge, and

growing, problem of clutter. Whether it's emerging digital platforms or the

nooks and crannies in an ever-increasing buyable physical world from

dry-cleaning bags, coffee cups, door hangers and even houses. The simple fact of the matter is that

clutter is leading to more clutter .

So if clutter is such a problem, why isn't there a clear, unified way of thinking out a way to reduce

it? And that perhaps is where a good debate and discussion within the Marketing and Media press

could contribute, but no, no critics within the trade have emerged to courageously

tackle this huge and growing problem! Added to which is the headlong,

unquestioning rush into all forms of new media. Like, for example cellphone

advertising. A much more critical stance would have questioned the very

thought of advertising on mobile telephones. Now the obvious has been

confirmed, marketers' new-found fondness for cellphone advertising is not an

enthusiasm universally shared by consumers. When 4,000 adults were

asked about different forms of mobile phone ads the overwhelming majority of respondents found

them "not acceptable at all"! "My new gizmo has gone up in smoke but I can't face

ringing yet another call centre" that was the headline in the Times of

London, as if in vindication of what I am trying to say here. "Customer

satisfaction plumbs the depths as a survey suggests that we are fed up with poor services"

states the Times. I can guarantee that there will be no

discussion/debate/criticism of that little article in the trade press!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Why do People need to Interact?

People respond to interactive opportunities because it seems to offer some intangible quality long ‘missing in action’ from modern life. In sharp contrast to the alienation wrought by homogenised broadcast media, interactive opportunities provide a space in which the human voice would be rapidly rediscovered.

Unlike the lockstep conformity imposed by television, advertising, and corporate propaganda, interactive communication gives new legitimacy – and free rein – to play.

People long for more connection between what we do for a living and what we genuinely care about. We long for release from anonymity, to be seen as who we feel ourselves to be rather than the sum of abstract metrics and parameters.

We long to be part of a world that makes sense rather than accept the accidental alienation imposed by market forces too large to grasp; to even contemplate

Would you like to discover more about how effective interactive communication is? Then simply contact Paul Ashby @ or (UK) 01934 620047 and please feel free to discuss any aspect of Interactive Communication.
Do you agree with Mad Ave's 16-car pileup?

Clutter's not the only issue -- things like media multitasking and ad-skipping devices play roles. But it is the elephant in the room. Or maybe a more apt metaphor is a 16-car pileup that Madison Avenue's perfectly happy to rubberneck: pause just enough to recognise its existence without doing anything to fix it.

"We could discuss any topic in media and there would some room for debate," said Debbie Solomon, group research director at WPP Group's MindShare, and the author of the agency's annual study on increased commercial time in TV. "But not with clutter. Every study I've ever seen shows that it's a bad thing."

So if clutter's such a problem, why isn't there a clear, unified way of figuring out how to reduce it? A big reason is that clutter is usually viewed through the lenses of individual media, a way of looking that makes a bit of sense given that clutter affects each medium differently.

Research shows that a magazine reader looks at glossy ad pages rather favorably, as part of the editorial content, while a TV viewer is more likely to see 30-second spots as interruptions. Between those poles of acceptance and revulsion fall internet users, who are simultaneously hit with both scads of generic, untargeted ads and more finely tuned pitches that take into account behavior that gives some semblance of relevance to advertising.

Refocus on consumer, not media
A siloed way of thinking is fine if you're atop a media company or a trade association, but it falls short if managing a massive marketing budget is your bag. That lens effectively needs to be refocused not on media but on the consumer, who's cumulatively bludgeoned by commercial messages as he moves from medium to medium. "We just don't have a holistic approach yet," Mr. Barocci said.

Asked whether a more consumer-centric approach to clutter is needed, Bob Liodice, president-CEO at the Association of National Advertisers, said such an initiative "would have to be like what's going on with engagement," referring to a joint effort by his organization, the 4A's and the ARF to develop a new standard for measuring ad effectiveness. "That's something that seems to have universal support and intrigue. Ad clutter hasn't yet risen to that level. I don't want to dismiss it, though. The consumer is running away from some advertising."

Kate Sirkin, exec VP-global research director at Publicis Groupe's Starcom, said she's not counting on action from media companies, for whom clutter raises complicated questions of economics. "Media companies and associations won't look at it because they don't think in a multimedia way," she said. "It'll be up to advertisers to deal with."

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Do you think that Media Pollution Is Worsening Despite Cleanup Efforts?


Somewhere between 254 and 5,000 is a number that represents just how many commercial messages an average consumer gets each day. Attempts to beat clutter only end up yielding more of it, a bitter irony bound to have dire consequences for a business already struggling with questions of relevance and effectiveness.
Attempts to beat clutter only end up yielding more of it, a bitter irony bound to have dire consequences for a business already struggling with questions of relevance and effectiveness.
There's no consensus on it, but just about everyone agrees on two things: It's way too high, and the industry's not doing anything to reduce its own overproduction.

That's our clutter problem -- and yours.

Shotgun blasts
Like a fly repeatedly bouncing off a closed window, the ad industry is trying to fix the problem by doing more of the same. That is, by creating more ads. What that absurdly cliched mission statement of "cutting through the clutter" has really yielded is an industry that shotgun blasts commercial messages into sexy new places as quick as it can identify them, whether it's emerging digital platforms or nooks and crannies in an increasingly buyable physical world -- dry-cleaning bags, coffee cups, door hangers and even houses. Yes, clutter is leading to more clutter.

But, you say, at least it's paring back on traditional media, right? Actually, TV commercial pods are fatter than they've ever been, and they're growing like a 14-year-old Xbox fan's waistline.

Attempts to beat clutter only end up yielding more of it, a bitter irony bound to have dire consequences for a business already struggling with questions of relevance and effectiveness. Put simply, the ad business is crushing itself under the weight of its own messaging, squeezing the effectiveness out of its product as consumers get more and more inured to the commercialisation of their culture and surroundings.

"At the end of the day, the ability of the average consumer to even remember advertising 24 hours later is at the lowest level in the history of our business," said Bob Barocci, president-CEO of the Advertising Research Foundation. "We know that something's happened and we know the contributors."

Do You Think that Advertising is Really Effective?

Our 21st century lives have been bombarded, blurred and overkilled with

advertising on TV, movies, radio, internet, magazines, newspapers, airplanes,

and even on the elevators up to our offices. The myriad of mixed advertising

messages that have infiltrated and controlled our down time has given most

consumers a huge headache and a diminished belief system. So, does traditional

advertising work today? Here are some serious stats that we just can't deny.

Consumer skepticism and a resistance to advertising are apparent in todays

marketplace. According to Insight Express, consumer trust in advertising has

plunged 41% over the past three years and only 10% of consumers say they trust

ads today.

In the varied world of todays media, the consumer is increasingly in

control. A recent study by Yankelovich, Inc. revealed that nearly 70% of consumers

were actively looking for ways to block, opt-out, or eliminate advertising.

Media fragmentation is out of control the average household today has over

100 television choices.

Given these facts, the pressure is on to improve targeting to your interested

market to achieve advertising relevance and to minimize your waste of

advertising that misses the mark. Therefore, todays successful marketers are

held to new levels of accountability and they have to prove the advertising is


Sunday, 3 March 2013

As an advertising medium....

....the web is like communism. It's never very good right now, but it's always going to be great some day."

Do you think that The dangers facing advertising and marketing are many and complex?


however we have to stop and stand back and re-examine the whole process of commercial

communication for the practitioners have lost sight of what we are supposed to

do. It is true that Marketing inertia is causing so many problems, together with

the fact that they will not face up to the unpalatable truth that the whole

process is just not working these days. The situation is so bad that any attempt

to mount an argument for reform gets buried in the old narrative of "advertising


Well the fact is that the era of getting rid of big advertising agencies and cutting wasteful

expenditure is upon us. After all we've had years of ever increasing marketing budgets and

throwing huge amounts of money at media has resulted in clutter and unaccountability.

Advertising in its current form must come to an end, not just because the money has run out,

but it is also shown to have failed! Although it must be said that Advertising and Marketing

are not the only scenes of gross wastage and mismanagement.

One can liken the current Advertising scene to an unstable Ponzi scheme.

Advertising and Marketing departments promised higher benefits than were

justified by the money being allocated to pay for them as in the swindle known

as a Ponzi scheme. The fact that advertising doesn't work makes all this

expenditure unsustainable right now!

There is an urgent need, like "Right Now" to overcome the hostility to big

business generally, the normal cosy relationships must not be allowed to resume.

The flawed policy-making in Marketing departments, without a doubt the Saatchi

brothers are responsible for the over rated benefits on spending (wasting?) huge

amounts of money on advertising! They were the most incompetent advertising

people in the history of advertising! The Saatchi Brothers encouraged the

slavish adherence to rational expectations stemming from the Creative Process,

and yet all knew that slavish belief in Creativity alone is fatal!

Where should we go from here? A huge and daunting question. Advertising

Agencies must learn the theory of "communication" they must also try, in all

honesty, to become totally accountable, it can be done.

Saturday, 2 March 2013


Communication research shows that interaction raises a communication's effectiveness.

During all our research one constant shone through, that is that marketing is


Current conventional mass media are weak conductors of knowledge and

comprehension. This is because of a number of factors, however the main reason

is; they are non-interactive communications vehicles, in other words

conversations cannot take place.

The one problem facing interactive advertising is the fact that it has become

a cliche in recent years, without any very clear or consistent definition of

what the word means or how it is supposed to work.

Properly executed it has none of the woolly theorising that lies behind the

arguments about various forms of so-called interactive communication using

direct marketing and electronic media (most of which involves at best the

minimum of true interactivity).

It is also practical, down-to-earth, and uses a readily comprehensible and

verified mechanism to expand the relevance and salience of advertising and

other forms of marketing communications. It can be applied to all major media

and to various other forms of communication, including new media. There is

no theoretical reason why it should not also be applied to packaging designs or

product literature.

The basic elements of interactive communication are very simple, as all

communication should be. The audience or any part of them are provided

with a Game, comprising a Quiz together with multiple choice answers.

This take the reader/viewer through the detail of a commercial or

advertisement and focuses their interest and attention on the products selling

points. The questionnaire is (usually) presented as an exercise

in getting the publics opinions about the products. The effect is to combine

the techniques of programmed learning and game playing to fix the advertising

message in consumers minds.

In the face of growing clutter of advertising messages and the increasing

ability of consumers to screen out unwanted commercials and ads., there is also

a growing problem for advertisers in breaking through the surrounding noise.

By presenting advertisements in the form of a Game it alters the consumers

perception to the content making the communication process far more effective,

by providing an enjoyable mechanism for consumers to become involved with

the brand and its advertising message.

This meets the desire, evident among consumers, to open up a dialogue with

at least some of the manufacturers or service companies whose products they

buy; and also feeds consumers evident wish to be better informed about what it

is they are being asked to buy.

By getting consumers to make a commitment to finding out more about an

advertisers offer, the interactive technique can create the conditions for

positive attitudes towards the advertiser and positive learning about the product


In addition to providing this encouragement for consumers to focus on the

brand and to develop for themselves the steps of the argument that should

lead to a purchase the technique can provide the advertiser with valuable

feedback about both the product and its advertising. This is a dialogue that

can benefit both sides, and be seen to be doing so.

By its very nature, the technique is totally accountable, so much so that it

is, without a doubt the most heavily research concept in the history of

marketing communication.

Many of the worlds largest independent research companies have measured the

incremental increases that just one exposure to an interactive programme can


Friday, 1 March 2013

What do you think is lacking in the advertising world of to-day?

Mainly we appear to lack ideas, strong ideas, competing ideas, confident

philosophies, angry dissent. Advertising people used to have ideas &

policies; they jostled to present their ideas. But what is alarming is

the impassivity of our advertising people & the idleness of advertising

debate, as we wait. There is a sense of vacuum.

Where to-day is the bold advocacy, the impatience to persuade, the urgency of

argument? Where are the shouts of "here's how!"? Where are the leading

actors, the big voices, the great thoughts?

Headlines about "Twitter", the Internet, "Facebook" et al, are these now the

only images we have of a once great advertising industry?

But perhaps the problem is simpler but just as scary, in a headline " Lack of

experience affects business" the Institute of Advertising had this to say, "The

nature of the business is such that in order to be cost efficient process gets

dumbed down and farmed out to more junior people. There is a tendency to

commodity and that can lead to work being de-skilled".

So there you have it technology and a dumbing down are affecting all aspect

of is time to change or else advertising will become like the

Zimbabwe bird flying around in ever decreasing circles until it disappears up

its own orifice!