Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday rant-day.

It's probably apocryphal, and like so many apocryphal statements it's often attributed to Winston Churchill, that "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

That statement pretty much sums up how I feel about traditional advertising. That it is the worst form of marketing communications except for all the others.

As such, and because for nearly 30 years it's been a ripe and fat target for corollary marketers seeking to win client-share-of-wallet, traditional marketing is frequently and vehemently assailed.

"No one:
              watches TV anymore.
              hasn't cut their cords.
              doesn't skip over commercials.
              likes interruptions.
              believes traditional marketing.
              reads print media.

The problem with these attacks is simple. What's the alternative?

I have more ad-blockers on my computers and phone than Carter has little liver pills, and, frankly, I have yet to organically get a social tile (much less be compelled by one) and only see banner ads when I write them, or when I go to my "other" browser--the one I use when I want to see ads.

As for Facebook ads and Linked In ads, well, let's just say I am (like so many others of my ilk) privacy-obsessed. Not only do my ad blockers help here, I also refuse to use location services and other tracking devices of the evil "do no evil-ers."

The same holds true for "experiential" conclaves. Jesus, I live in one of the world's great cities. And if I'm faced with a choice of seeing a great musician perform, or an opera as opposed to a late-night rave for Wells Fargo bank where I'll walk home with a cheap plastic lei in brand colors and a flimsy frisbee, well, I am not that interested in "branded entertainment." (Branded entertainment might be one of the great oxymorons of our age.)

What's more, when I do go the opera, or like last weekend to The New Yorker Festival, the logos that festoon the venues only piss me off. I paid $99 a seat to see Andy Borowitz last Saturday...what did sponsor Mastercard do except assault me with their Venn diagram?

I suppose this is essentially a long-winded way of saying there is a large-class of people (and affluent at that) who are almost wholly unreachable. Except when, like last night they can't sleep and turn on the ballgame to see the Cubbies beat the Nats, 9-8 in a late-night nail-biter. 

You can file this under, "George Preserving his Job," but it seems to me that the only way to reach the unreachable is to do work that is good, important and interesting enough to be viewable.

I suppose if I got a tissue ad the moment I was about to sneeze, I'd believe in data and targeting, but I've yet to see that promise pay out. Most of the direct marketing I get is for Viking River Cruises, which I will never go on, hair-loss remedies, and meet Olga and other Russian brides.

The targeting that gets to me is so transparent as to be offensively "stalky," so not only do I ignore it, I'm pissed off at the brand that sent it.

Long ago, David Ogilvy said something like "the consumer isn't a moron, she is your wife." (Forget the gender-bias there, and think of the sentiment.)

And the great Bob Levenson of DDB renown, who wrote more great Vokswagen ads than just about anyone else said this about writing copy: "Start off with 'Dear Charlie,' then say 'this is what I want to tell you about. Make believe that the person you're talking to is a perfectly intelligent friend who knows less about the product than you do. Then, when you've finished writing the copy, just cross out 'Dear Charlie'."

In other words, if you want people to like your advertising, treat them with respect, and offer them something of value, information or otherwise. 


And stop calling them "targets." Who wants to be a target?


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