Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Future of Advertising

This morning I read an article in Fast Company, which really got at why advertising is so tough now, why everyone is so lost, and why the people who were once known for building great brands are now bowing to computer geeks and search freaks. Read at least the first page to get an idea before you read on.

While I was reading, some words and phrases literally jumped right off the page at me:

"Fragmented consumer attention"

"Digital is incremental"

"Respond in real time to an unpredictable audience" [my god...]

And my personal favorite from the old guard, now so distracted by the geeks that they forgot what they came here to do:

"I'm a person petrified to fail."

These things sound to me like pretty much everything that good branding is not about. All this chasing. All these analytics. In fact, all this "essential" two-way micro-conversation with customers. Chase, test, measure, tweak, test. Who sent us barking up this tree? What a horrific concept of personality. These sound like the actions of a perfectly awful and avoidable brand.

Alan Watts said that we can peer down a microscope and say "Look! I've found something smaller than the atom, the electron!" And then someone else says that they've found something even smaller, the quark. We can keep going and going with all our new technology, but when will these particles stop getting smaller? What is it exactly that we expect to find? That we've really got them now! Found you!

What happened to building equity?

Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum we have the guys who seem to have it too easy in almost every regard (haters gonna hate):

Which brand is everybody's favorite? Apple. Right.
Which brand still buys TV and billboards? Apple.
Which brand builds brick and mortar stores you actually want to visit?

Just sayin.