Wednesday, September 5, 2007

How many times do you believe a liar?

I confess. I have been called "Old Testament"in my proclivity to see the world in terms of black and white. Good and evil. Right and wrong. It's probably true. I am exacting and I expect to be told the truth when I'm spoken to. When I'm lied to, I get pissed and I'm apt to boycott or go elsewhere with my business. Or my career.

That's why I ignore the President when he says the surge is working. I'll ignore General Petraeus when he says the surge is working. And I ignore virtually any message from virtually every phone company, airline, candidate, big-box-retailer, etc. It's all a crock of crap. Yesterday, Ad Age reported that AT&T's claim of "fewest dropped calls" (a claim they backed by nearly $1 billion of ad spend) was "inflated." As were nearly all telco claims backed by $5 billion of spend.

The advertising industry (that's us) is both the propagator and the victim of these falsehoods. Our work is ignored because we've lied too often. Because we produce messages that no one believes we're regarded by clients as a commodity and a cost center.

So the question I think for us is this: Is there a way to be honest, to become credible, to actually communicate useful consumer information in an executionally brilliant way? In short, how can advertising become influential again?

1 comment:

dawife said...

Thomas Friedman (who is someone I trust) writes honestly from Baghdad "Good news: the surge is tamping down violence. Bad news: the relative calm stems largley from a Sunni-Sunni war that has pushed mainstream Iraqi Sunnis into our camp to fight the jihadist Sunnis--rather than from any real Sunni-Shiite reapprochment."

Fortunately TF doe not discuss advertising much.