How we think
& feel about marketing
John Rose's Blog

Is Advertising Dead?

Of course not.
Advertising is the process of acquiring an opportunity in a public medium to persuade someone to watch/listen/read what you have to say about your company, brand or product.
The choice of medium may evolve and change; the form and substance of the messages may change. But the process for marketers remains the same.
We still begin by arriving at an intimate understanding of the product and the customer, followed by the hunt for a creative solution that will compel affinity or purchase.

I have always said that a brand is a relationship, ideally a love affair, between a consumer and a company. Whether this relationship is forged via a 30 second commercial or a Facebook fan page is irrelevant.
I think much of this talk about the death of advertising stems from the pressures that some media are under to transition to a new business model.
Clearly advertising-dependent newspapers are under pressure. In fact, I have a standing $10,000 bet that by 2020, no major daily newspaper that exists today will continue to publish in paper form -- meaning that publications that do not adapt to delivery systems and multimedia solutions for mobile platforms like tablet computers (and whatever comes after them) will cease to exist altogether. Paper magazines will not be far behind.
Radio, as a passive medium, may survive, even widen its audience via Internet, but will continue to segment and consolidate. Of course, the future of music radio is dim.
The survival of news and editorial media will be dependent upon their ability to personally curate content. With so much information available to us, we need media to separate stories and news we want to see from those we don’t.
Television will also survive via the Internet as long as it continues to create great programming that attracts viewers. Its dependence on interruptive advertising (commercials) may not be sustainable due to devices like TiVo that allow viewers to skip the ads. However, advertising imbedded into storylines can’t be filtered. And I have no doubt that opt-in options that motivate viewers to watch ads will emerge.
And then there’s poster advertising – printed or electronic – on billboards, metro stations, buses, bus stops, trams, taxies, etc. I see no substitute for these forms of advertising nor any way to filter them, unless they are legislated out of business.
Of course, in developing markets like Russia, conventional media will survive in its present form longer than in other more mature markets, primarily due to lower Internet penetration. But the end result will be the same here too.
Certainly the demise of in-your-face, disruptive advertising is upon us. I agree with Facebook Global Brand Experience Manager, Paul Adams, when he says that we are evolving to a form of advertising that depends upon "many lightweight interactions over time."
Advertising in the future will be more participatory, more interactive – more of a conversation. But isn’t that what the best advertising is anyway? If a brand is a relationship between a consumer and a brand, conversation is essential. I don’t know of any relationship that would survive very long without it.
So, no, advertising isn’t dead. Like the humans it is meant to enthrall, it is simply adapting to its environment.