Making the case for advertising

When people hear the word advertising, their first thoughts are usually negative. Fluff, fake, illusion, fabrication. If they don’t like a characteristic in their purchase, such as if the price is too high, the packaging too over-the-top or they don’t think the product will be good enough, they chalk up all the complaints, failures and dissatisfaction with marketing or advertising.

These observations are not without basis. As a consumer, there are places where I wished there was less advertising, or that the advertising present was done a little better. There are times when advertising can be too much, and that you’ve seen too much of it that you just don’t want to see it again. And I work in the industry.

That is where the challenge is, for us marketers. We need to jumpstart the industry, to reinvigorate people’s senses and create advertising that is less obtrusive and more in line with the natural experience of how people live.

Advertising is not inherently bad. It is an art and science in understanding consumers, learning when, where and how to reach them, understanding their needs and placing brands infront of them to satisfy those needs. When you get it right, it can be impactful. When you get it wrong, it is not only a waste, but it has detrimental effects to your brand.

More tactically, advertising campaigns start from an idea, such as, “To reach this consumer, promote this product and compel them to buy,” and advertising professionals turn the idea into a campaign that generally requires identification of media channels, and within each media channel, evaluation of partners that offer the services needed to implement the idea. They research the appropriate consumer to inform the campaign. These professionals need to learn how to scale the idea in order to reach as many people and as many number of times it takes for the message to sink in. That is advertising in its most simple form.

However, external factors complicate it, such as budget contraints, inefficient processes, unclear objectives, deadlines, limitations in optimization, and so forth. Advertising professionals jump through these hoops and go through the challenges so that the client sees how their idea is executed in the real world, and that the consumer only sees an eye-catching billboard, a funny commercial or a beautiful print insertion. There is a lot more work involved than what the client and consumer are seeing.

So now, if advertising has the power to communicate to the masses, and leverage the collective power of an audience to drive sales for the brand, can the industry work toward a higher, more human purpose? Can it actually be the originator and drive positive change? The answer is yes, and I am excited to see how. It’s up to us marketers to find out how to build value through our work and touch upon objectives for all key stakeholders– client, consumer, and society.


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