Saturday, October 10, 2009
What do we do?
I've been thinking for a couple of days about a post from my friend the Ad Contrarian, "Nothing to Sell But Uncertainty," a rumination on the role of advertising in the bs-laden world today. http://adcontrarian.blogspot.com/2009/10/nothing-to-sell-but-uncertainty.html
Some people will tell you we are looking for new paradigms,others will blather on about convergence, the twitters will twerp in with some folderol about brand conversations. OK, OK, but what do we do?
Just now I came upon a book review in The Wall Street Journal I found interesting because it combines a few of my many obsessions: Jewish life, Nazis and marketing. It's of a book called "We Were Merchants," and it's the story of the Sternberg's and their department store "Goudchaux's." You can read the whole thing here:
It's a remarkable story, in all, but one sentence in the review really hit me between the eyes. I think it might be the simplest and best answer to the Ad Contrarian's plaintive questioning.
Mr. Sternberg, co-author of "We Were Merchants," and grandson of the progenitor of Goudchaux's writes: The "abiding philosophy was the customer was everything. Without him or her, there would be no need for a cash register."
It seems me to what Sternberg was saying makes sense to us in the ad industry. Because we are merchants, too. Our ads must serve the customer. They must give them valuable information. Tell them a compelling story. Impel them to act. And they must do so in a way that is unique and memorable--proprietary to the brand which you are selling.
What we do in advertising has become instead all about finding a really cool DP, or doing a cut just for the awards shows, or removing a url and body copy because it will clutter the ad.
What we really should be doing is remembering that the customer is everything.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 6:46 AM