Monday, November 22, 2010

Sub-Prime Advertising.

There's a new book out that is getting a lot of deserved attention titled "All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis." It's by Bethany McLean (co-author of "The Smartest Guys in the Room) and Joe Nocera, business columnist for "The New York Times." You can read a "Times'" review of it here:

I just started the book last evening so I'm only 30 pages in. But already I get the point. Too many Americans--encouraged by shysters, charlatans, and fast-talkers--thought they could get something for nothing. The financial system counted on an endless supply of these dopes and bet on them. When their accounts were called, the results of having no "there there" led to the collapse we are still attempting (everso lightly) to recover from.

The above, in a nutshell, is the story of subprime mortgages. The unprincipled selling to the unqualified to gain the unconscionable.

It occurs to me that much the same (admittedly on a much smaller scale) is happening in our industry.

Call it sub-prime advertising.

The unprincipled--purveyors of as yet unproven new media are selling to the unqualified--clients who ought to have the intelligence to know better but don't--to gain the unconscionable, that is customers or prospects for pennies per.

I'm online more than 99% of the American population. I've never had a conversation about a brand, never noticed a Facebook ad, never been influenced by a Tweet or a Yelp or a poke, can't recall a single ad I've ever seen on You Tube and I don't think I've ever been reached by a piece of syndicated content.

Further, I've never gone on a product site (I don't check out Bounty's online presence when I need new paper towels.) I don't really care about the camera my friends tell me to buy.

Sub-prime advertising, like sub-prime mortgages, are a concoction, a charade, a manipulation, an alchemy that promises to turn base-metal into gold.

Even Isaac Newton failed at doing that.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

So why do you work at a digital agency. Usually I agree with you George but here you're dead wrong. Why do blog then? Is it therapy? If that's how you really feel about the new/ old industry, just being in it an earning a salary makes you part of the " problem"