Monday, January 21, 2013

Thgoughts on the future of advertising

It just occurred to me that since we live in a 'global' society, the challenges facing advertisers are sort of increasing.  For one thing, as GM found out with the LaCrosse, oftentimes innocuous words in one culture are insults in another.  Ever had an Englishman ask if he can 'bum a fag'?  I rest my case.

Another is that what is considered 'politically correct' in one country might not be so acceptable elsewhere..public nudity being one example of many.  It might be OK to make 'fun' of a certain demographic in one country, but not in another.

And this all means that, no matter what you do, an intended advertising campaign is going to alienate someone, somewhere.

So what is a possible solution to this nightmare?  I think more and more, advertisers are going to target 'belief systems' in their advertisements.  If the anti-male commercial trend has taught them anything, it's two things...  One, that anti male advertising works like a charm on women.  And two, that it alienates men as a demographic on many harmful levels, not least of which is a reluctance to buy said advertiser's products.

The only real option advertisers have, is to begin to target advertising in niche markets with strong identifiable demographic leanings (ie, 'interest groups') and narrowcast their message.  I saw a TED talk on this but can't remember the guy speaking...what I do remember though, is the need to speak directly to people already predisposed to like your message.  Grabbing the low hanging fruit, as it were.

The takeaway:  don't worry about 'offending' people who wouldn't buy your product anyway, ESPECIALLY if it increases your market share of people already inclined to like you.  Put another way: don't waste your effort, there are easier ways to succeed.

The Mens Movement takes this tack...but I believe advertisers will soon too.  Advertising will be changed, or 'tailored' to fit the prevailing beliefs of the website or magazine or tv program audience.  Smart advertisers will identify their strong markets, and exploit their 'good name' there.  If that means a 'shitty reputation' in demographics they are unaffected by...well, can't please everybody.

When advertising as an industry embraces this concept, you will begin to see truly global advertising campaigns.  When Small Business realizes UPS ships anywhere and people do business with people they like...that will further drive change.  The result, I think, will be Pablum-like 'mainstream' advertising, with far more edgy narrowcasted advertising in demographically focused areas.  Which of course will drive an increasing balkanization of the audience/storylines.  It seems to me to be an unavoidable future.

Maybe this is nothing new to anyone, maybe it's a cutting edge trend...I dunno.  It just occurred to me, and I figured I would share.

2 comments:

  1. This isn't new, just the way things have been heading over the last 10 or so years. Good points though.

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