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!

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