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!