Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I hate advertising.

I'm not sure if there is any other industry in the world that hates itself as much as the advertising industry.

Taking baseball as an industry, I don't think you have players, coaches, managers, owners or umpires looking at the National Football League or the National Basketball Association, and then saying aloud, "They are popular, we are not, therefore, baseball is dead."

Surely, advertising has its problems--its challenges. What industry doesn't?

But it seems to me that some number of our wounds are self-inflicted. 

  • We posit that consumers hate advertising.
  • We assert--though a record number of books are published each year--that no one reads.
  • We proclaim that no one watches TV anymore--though viewing of video (on all screens) is up, not down.
  • We fantasize that there was, at one time, a magical era where people catatonically absorbed interruptions without complaint.

I've been around the ad industry seemingly forever. My old man was in the business at the start of the TV era. I started earning money with words in 1980. I'm not buying it. 

Advertising's simple mission--to impart useful consumer information in an executionally brilliant way--fulfills a human need. If advertising is dying it's because it has strayed from that objective. 

There's a relatively new book out now by a guy called Andrew Essex. It's called "The End of Advertising: Why It Had to Die, and the Creative Resurrection to Come".

Here's "The New Yorker's" thumbnail review:

Amazon's review says this: "The ad apocalypse is upon us. Today millions are downloading ad-blocking software, and still more are paying subscription premiums to avoid ads. This $600 billion industry is now careening toward outright extinction, after having taken for granted a captive audience for too long, leading to lazy, overabundant, and frankly annoying ads. Make no mistake, Madison Avenue: Traditional advertising, as we know it, is over."

I wish proclaiming things "over" was over.

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