Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It isn't over until we say it's over


Here we go again. Another article by a smart, successful articulate marketing professional on the cataclysmic shift that's happening in the advertising industry today.

The author argues that traditional advertising is no longer relevant because we all have smartphones and other wiz-bang technology, we can tell stories about people, and we are capable of inventing incredible new products that disrupt entire categories.

He, of course is right. Except he's not.

True, there are products that are so remarkable they don't need advertising.

True, great businesses are being built that change the way we think about the very business they're in.

And true, brands that demonstrate their benefit to their customers and relevance to their lives are more interesting and successful than those that talk only about themselves.

But here's the thing that Mr. Inamoto fails to mention:

It has always been thus.

From the moment the first images were painted onto cave walls promoting the exploits of great Paleolithic hunters, advertising has been evolving.

The printing press, radio, television, the automobile, the internet, smartphones have all changed advertising as we know it. And every new technology that's introduced will continue to change it.

Let's face it, if people are attending, watching, reading, interacting or otherwise involved with some activity, companies will find a way to insert themselves into the action to promote their products and services. That's what advertising is.

It's not just a :30 second TV spot selling trucks.

It's not just a four-color magazine ad selling beer.

It's not just a banner ad selling men's suits.

It's not just a guy jumping out of a balloon hundreds of miles above the earth selling energy drinks.

Advertising has always been adapting to meet the culture of the day's consumer and to take advantage of the technology of the day's media.

Yes, advertising as we've known it for the past 20 or so years is changing – just as it has been doing every day since the dawn of mankind. So let's stop with the histrionics. Let's refrain from the proclamations that we are in a special time of extraordinary transformation because here's what hasn't changed.

Companies that understand who they are, what they offer, how they benefit their customers and get that message to people in interesting, relevant and compelling ways using any and all of the tools available to them will continue succeed.

Advertising is dead. Long live advertising.

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