Friday, March 20, 2009

Once again, this is simple.

Somewhere along the way the notion of promoting a brand, a brand as independent from sales and marketing goals, became a shibboleth in the advertising industry. As an advertiser you could tell a story about your brand and it was enough to make people "feel good" about a brand. There was in such advertising no drive or impetus for consumers to actually do something, like actually buy a product.

This is/was dumbness at its apotheosis.

Advertising exists to make a promise to a consumer that impels them to action. Apple apps are a good example of what I mean. They don't just make you feel good about Apple, you have to buy them. Since they launched, Apple has sold 800 million of them. That's advertising that both builds a brand while it drives sales. If your advertising separates the two--sales and brand--it is a waste of money.

In this week's Fortune, Bob Pittman has an article about advertising being the missing component in the givernment's (my new spelling of government) scheme to stimulate spending. That's what advertising is meant to do. Period.

Or, in short and in verse, as an anonymous poet wrote decades ago:

It Pays To Advertise

The codfish lays ten thousand eggs,
The homely hen lays one.
The codfish never cackles
To tell you what she’s done-

And so we scorn the codfish
While the humble hen we prize.
It only goes to show you
That it pays to advertise!

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