The end times of advertising?

Who remembers Mary Hopkin? Her famous song, “Those were the days my friend /We thought they’d never end…We’d fight and never lose.” How true. Gone are the days when creative directors, copywriters, and art directors would think up the next big idea or campaign to grab the customer’s attention. Unfortunately, advertising doesn’t change minds or make a difference anymore. Consumers are too overwhelmed; and if they’re not overwhelmed, they are numb to the messaging, graphics, animated ads, jingles, offers and celebrity endorsements. There seems to be a sensory overload turning customers away and causing them to filter out the noise. The younger generation simply avoid traditional media all together. They won’t be found in front of a TV or with a newspaper in their hands.

Advertising used to be about creating a big idea and promoting that idea in as many places as possible to drive sales. Big ideas needed lots of media channels to be effective and by their very nature would create a connect with the target audience. But with digital, big ideas die fast. They can’t keep up with the short attention spans of digital consumers. Today, we don’t get to see a campaign like Bajaj bulbs that lasted for years. No doubt, an idea that is big and loud might catch someone’s attention; it might raise awareness. But that’s about it. So what is the future of advertising?

Currently, consumers rely more on earned media (rather than paid media advertising) and peer-to-peer recommendations over ads when it comes to making buying decisions. In other words, a media channel is no longer the centre of the marketing universe. The new centre is mobile, video games, augmented reality, social media, and email – to deliver interactive, valuable content. So the moot question is what is left of advertising?

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