Advertising – Entering A New Era

Have you ever watched a TV commercial and said to your couch mate – What? Do you understand what we just saw? Or read a magazine ad that had tiny type and no real message? Thankfully those days may be coming to an end.

I have long bemoaned the lack of thinking in advertising – from both the creative and the client side. Why are agencies pitching silly ads with no consumer connection and even more confusing to me is why is corporate America buying into this system? Producing an ad costs big bucks, and then there is the media buy, another large sum – shouldn’t these expenditures result in sales? Heck yes, but no one seemed to be measuring the cause and effect.

The answer seems to be that the US was in an era of too much money, too little thinking and rare moments of accountability. Those days are thankfully gone and the winner will be the consumer.

Here is what to look for in the years ahead;

Accountability – Print and Broadcast ads will be tied to a web site where every visitor will be counted (and much more) and those numbers might mean a very short run for a non-producing ad.

Ties to the real world – You are already seeing football themed ads tied to Fall sports events and look for much more of this as brands set up what are known as Editorial Calendars. That means October ad buys will have Halloween tie ins across every venue – by the way Halloween is growing as an important retail time of year. These tie ins will include not only holiday themes, but major sporting events, and even major social and industry events like Fashion Week and the introduction times for new car models etc.

Speaking of fashion – advertising has long had ties with fashion, from color selection to the wardrobes worn by actors or models in commercials – but those tie ins are growing as those same actors or models are designing products and lending their names to major brands.

Who creates the ads? That too is going through a huge shift as print media is now saying to advertisers – let us design your ad – who knows our audience better? They are not only designing the ad, but tying the content of those ads to the editorial content of the magazine – smart eh? It also means the print media can gain from the brand not having to pay the design and placement fees to the agency.

Events – direct connections to the consumer – we all crave human interaction and with online shopping we are losing some of that in the retail environment. However a special event can bring together the brand, the product, any celebrity tie-ins and the consumer all under one “tent”. Sports stadiums have been named after brands for years, but now so are many more concerts, plays on Broadway (think Disney’s Lion King) and so much more.

Coming together – brands are starting to join hands to reach slices of the consumer market. Think of Ritz-Carlton partnering with Mercedes or Starbucks partnering with Apple.

This economy has few silver linings, but with these necessary and long overdue changes in the advertising world – we are going to all be better informed consumers. And that is a very good thing.

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