Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Learning from a near death experience.

Some five years after the Federal Government's bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, it seems that the American auto industry is in significantly better shape. Today it was announced that the Feds sold their last auto stock, and actually turned something like a $13 billion profit on the complicated transaction.

The auto industry, as I said, seems in better shape because they are, for the first time in decades, making a product that competes on the world stage--a product customers finally want. They are not, as one industry analyst said, "relying solely on discounts to move cars."

I wonder if the advertising industry can learn something from this lesson.

As merger-mania continues, as holding companies compete more on price than on effectiveness, I wonder if we make things that people want.

I wonder if we make spots that inform. If we create sites that help shoppers. If we create advertising that makes people feel--laugh, cry, learn.

If, in fact, the auto industry has woken up, it took a near-death experience for it to learn. In my view advertising is also near dead. It takes only a glance at this year's spate of Christmas-themed commercials to make you want to gouge your eyes out with a dirty chopstick. When will we do things our customers like that customers also find useful?

Maybe we're not near-enough to death.

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