Friday, April 23, 2010

The future: no more bad ads.

Is it getting harder to advertise boring brands?

In Patrick Collings’ Brand Architect blog post this morning, he discusses some recent advertising ‘game changers’ including Twitter’s Sponsored Tweets and Facebook's ever-adapting ways to put adverting in the control of its consumers.

I’ve been thinking (and hoping) a lot lately about it getting increasingly hard to get away with crap advertising.

Everyone knows that the shift away from broadcast media and the innovations in the way online ads are targeted and created will make consumer censoring of ads even easier but are we really prepared for what we will have to do to deal with it? Ads will certainly need to be more creative and entertaining to get people to watch them but this alone won’t be enough.

With online formats that require interaction with ads, such as rating and recommending, it will become increasingly difficult to create effective advertising unless people love your brand enough to become advocates.

This will create a problem for a lot of brands. Particularly the sort of consumer products which traditionally spend the most on advertising. How do you get people to love your breakfast cereal so much that they feel compelled to tell people about it on their Facebook page?

This leads me on to one of my other pet topics – you can’t make good ads about boring products.

When I’m traveling for business I like to look at all the ads you see in airports for things like investment companies and consulting firms. You know the ones with a dramatic landscape picture and a copy line saying something like ‘Together we are going places.’ It’s hard to imagine who could create ads that bad and pointless until you think that perhaps these businesses just don’t have anything else to say. Perhaps their services are so indistinguishable from each other that their ads have to be too.

Seth Goddin sums all this up better than I can in his book ‘The Purple Cow’. But it comes down to making sure your product is really worth selling before you worry about how to sell it.

Maybe I’m idealistic but I see a bright future in which it will become impossible not only to make bad ads but that products which are not useful, exciting and individually distinguishable will become impossible to market and therefore cease to exist.

Bring it on.

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