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Traditional Advertising Isn’t Really Dead, Is It?

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Traditional Advertising  Isn’t Really Dead, Is It?

It has been a while since I enjoyed an advertising/marketing book as much as I enjoyed Bob Hoffman’s “101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising”. Joyously vitriolic, the writer aims a firehose at a decade’s worth of accumulated hogwash that has risen in the marketing field in the wake of the Internet’s rise. To wit:

Traditional advertising isn’t dead. In fact, more people are watching television than ever — ads and all. Despite the bleatings of a few self-styled online gurus, the rise of the Internet hasn’t changed much for the big marketer. (For instance, there’s a reason most digital marketing companies now call online banner advertising “display advertising” rather than “interactive advertising”. Because people aren’t interacting with it.)

In a book full of rants, here’s one on branding: “There’s very little fun left in the ad business, but one of the big chuckles we still get (secretly) is watcing our clients go through idiotic ‘branding’ exercises. These con games last for months, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and generally have less impact on business than cleaning the drapes.”

More ranting subjects: Social-media experts are selling “snake-oil”. And the whole idea of creating a “conversation” about your brand? Ridiculous. If you are a pickle manufacturer, your customers want to do only thing with your brand. Put it in their mouths and chew. Don’t overthink this stuff.

Terms the author absolutely hates: ecosystem, conversation, engagement, landscape, seared ahi tuna, and quirky.

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Just because social media has exploded in the last five years doesn’t mean that social-media marketing has.

&#8220 I’ve seen thousands of ads that were too complicated or too generic. I’ve never seen one that was too simple or too specific. &#8221

All of the above isn’t true for everybody. There have been a few success stories that we continuously hear about. But they don’t make up for the thousands of failures that nobody has heard about.

The best advertising is strategically wise, creatively pleasing and specific. Example: the iPod, which wasn’t launched as a “world-class mp3 player” or “a whole new way to enjoy music”. Instead, it was presented as “a thousand songs in your pocket”. Bullseye.

Many advertisers don’t quite get that, if given the choice between “world-class service” and “we answer on the first ring”, the more powerful promise is actually the second.

Many service companies (e.g. insurance companies, banks, oil companies) try to create emotional connections by filling their ads with images — mothers cradling newborns, handicapped people competing in athletic events, little boy saluting the flag. Useless cliches. All of ’em. Any one of these companies would get much better results by running an ad that said: “15 minutes could save you 15%”.

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Hoffman’s philosophy of advertising: “I’ve seen thousands of ads that were too complicated or too generic. I’ve never seen one that was too simple or too specific.”

There are two kinds of people: people who simplify things and people who complicate them. In most businesses, complicators are annoying. In advertising, they are ruinous.

Take a cue from Apple. In your advertising, show your product benefits. Don’t just say, but prove, how your business is different. And always, always be absolutely yourself.



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The store was a landmark in Topeka, Kansas, but after 80 years in business, it was time for Briman’s Leading Jewelers to close up shop. Third generation jeweler and owner Rob Briman says the decision wasn’t easy, but the sale that followed was — all thanks to Wilkerson. Briman had decided a year prior to the summer 2020 sale that he wanted to retire. With a pandemic in full force, he had plenty of questions and concerns. “We had no real way to know if we were going to be successful or have a failure on our hands,” says Briman. “We didn’t know what to expect.” But with Wilkerson in charge, the experience was “fantastic” and now there’s plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying a more secure retirement. “I would recommend Wilkerson to any retailer considering a going-out-of-business sale,” says Briman. “They’ll help you reach your financial goal. Our experience was a tremendous success.”

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David Squires

Traditional Advertising Isn’t Really Dead, Is It?

Published

on

Traditional Advertising  Isn’t Really Dead, Is It?

It has been a while since I enjoyed an advertising/marketing book as much as I enjoyed Bob Hoffman’s “101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising”. Joyously vitriolic, the writer aims a firehose at a decade’s worth of accumulated hogwash that has risen in the marketing field in the wake of the Internet’s rise. To wit:

Traditional advertising isn’t dead. In fact, more people are watching television than ever — ads and all. Despite the bleatings of a few self-styled online gurus, the rise of the Internet hasn’t changed much for the big marketer. (For instance, there’s a reason most digital marketing companies now call online banner advertising “display advertising” rather than “interactive advertising”. Because people aren’t interacting with it.)

In a book full of rants, here’s one on branding: “There’s very little fun left in the ad business, but one of the big chuckles we still get (secretly) is watcing our clients go through idiotic ‘branding’ exercises. These con games last for months, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and generally have less impact on business than cleaning the drapes.”

More ranting subjects: Social-media experts are selling “snake-oil”. And the whole idea of creating a “conversation” about your brand? Ridiculous. If you are a pickle manufacturer, your customers want to do only thing with your brand. Put it in their mouths and chew. Don’t overthink this stuff.

Advertisement

Terms the author absolutely hates: ecosystem, conversation, engagement, landscape, seared ahi tuna, and quirky.

Just because social media has exploded in the last five years doesn’t mean that social-media marketing has.

&#8220 I’ve seen thousands of ads that were too complicated or too generic. I’ve never seen one that was too simple or too specific. &#8221

All of the above isn’t true for everybody. There have been a few success stories that we continuously hear about. But they don’t make up for the thousands of failures that nobody has heard about.

The best advertising is strategically wise, creatively pleasing and specific. Example: the iPod, which wasn’t launched as a “world-class mp3 player” or “a whole new way to enjoy music”. Instead, it was presented as “a thousand songs in your pocket”. Bullseye.

Many advertisers don’t quite get that, if given the choice between “world-class service” and “we answer on the first ring”, the more powerful promise is actually the second.

Advertisement

Many service companies (e.g. insurance companies, banks, oil companies) try to create emotional connections by filling their ads with images — mothers cradling newborns, handicapped people competing in athletic events, little boy saluting the flag. Useless cliches. All of ’em. Any one of these companies would get much better results by running an ad that said: “15 minutes could save you 15%”.

Hoffman’s philosophy of advertising: “I’ve seen thousands of ads that were too complicated or too generic. I’ve never seen one that was too simple or too specific.”

There are two kinds of people: people who simplify things and people who complicate them. In most businesses, complicators are annoying. In advertising, they are ruinous.

Take a cue from Apple. In your advertising, show your product benefits. Don’t just say, but prove, how your business is different. And always, always be absolutely yourself.



/* * * CONFIGURATION VARIABLES: EDIT BEFORE PASTING INTO YOUR WEBPAGE * * */
var disqus_shortname = ‘instoremag’; // required: replace example with your forum shortname

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var dsq = document.createElement(‘script’); dsq.type = ‘text/javascript’; dsq.async = true;
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})();

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

Retirement Made Easy with Wilkerson

The store was a landmark in Topeka, Kansas, but after 80 years in business, it was time for Briman’s Leading Jewelers to close up shop. Third generation jeweler and owner Rob Briman says the decision wasn’t easy, but the sale that followed was — all thanks to Wilkerson. Briman had decided a year prior to the summer 2020 sale that he wanted to retire. With a pandemic in full force, he had plenty of questions and concerns. “We had no real way to know if we were going to be successful or have a failure on our hands,” says Briman. “We didn’t know what to expect.” But with Wilkerson in charge, the experience was “fantastic” and now there’s plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying a more secure retirement. “I would recommend Wilkerson to any retailer considering a going-out-of-business sale,” says Briman. “They’ll help you reach your financial goal. Our experience was a tremendous success.”

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