The death of advertising

Photo by Andres Musta

Of course, advertising is not dead (yet). But its role and imporance in the marketing mix is definitively shifting: New forms of customer communications are emerging to increasingly push it aside given that the world wide web, social media, and mobile are providing a broad spectrum of new ways for brands to communicate with desired and prospective audiences.

If you happened to miss this old and visionary article in the Journal of Advertising, Volume XXIII, Number 4 from December 1994 by Roland T. Rust and Richard W. Oliver on the death of advertising, you definitively missed something important. This is why you’ll the full article as PDF below.

Rust and Oliver were without doubt visionaries given that they predicted search engines (knowbots), e-commerce, SEO and content marketing (customer communications). According to the authors, a new type of marketing calls for a radically new form of detailed, information-oriented communications as opposed to mass media advertising.

My favorite sentences and passages from a content marketer perspective are the following:

“The value-added of many traditional products today is their information content” (page 72).

“This period will last well into the middle of the 21st century, as the only real value of products, services and communications becomes their information content. The information content of products and services themselves will be transformed during this period into what we call “wisdom products.” Such “wisdom products” will provide customers not only data and information, but knowledge and wisdom for decision
making and action” (page 75).

“Virtually the whole of marketing communications will be “not advertising” in the relatively
near future, so the field of advertising must go out of its way to welcome new, broader topics before it is too late” (page 76).

Download here: The death of advertising [743 KB]

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Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way

This beautiful adaptation from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the places you’ll go” shot at the Burning Man event 2011 makes me shiver every time! It is a poem of life and its amazing challenges, its ups and downs, and the inspirational journey we’re on.

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Uncover the great stories by listening

This is how great stories are told: “Pearls before breakfast” from Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 and is still one of my favorite articles of all times.

It tells the story of a man with a violin playing 6 Bach pieces for 45 minutes in a Washington DC metro station on a cold January morning in 2007. During that time about 2’000 people go by, only 6 people stop and stay for a while and 20 give him some money without stopping. He collects 32 dollars. When he finishes playing, no one applaudes, nor is there any recognition.

What no one knows: The violinist is Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world, playing one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his Washington DC subway session, Joshua Bell played in a sold out Boston theatre where the tickets for his concert averaged 100 dollars each.

Joshua Bell’s incognito play in the metro station was part of a social experiment of the Washington Post focusing on perception, taste and people’s priorities. The main questions of the experiment were:

In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour:

  • Do we perceive beauty?
  • Do we stop to appreciate it?
  • Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

When it comes to great stories, there’s one simple truth: We can see them every day, on any usual day, but we might simply be missing them for the same reasons we would walk by Joshua Bell: Because we don’t take the time to pause and listen closely. It only takes a moment for an idea to unfold. But you need to be willing to spare it.

Are you listening?

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The art of telling stories

As marketing guru Seth Godin has stated, content marketing is the only marketing left. It is basically the art of communicating with your customers and clients without selling by creating and distributing relevant and valuable high-quality content in order to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the goal of buidling a continuously growing, loyal and engaged customer base as well as driving profitable customer action. And while the term “content marketing” has become popular quite recently, content marketing has a long and successful history which has been based on the art of telling stories. See the following video for a short illustration of the long tradition of content marketing determining it to be the most promising future marketing format for enhancing business performance.

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