Monday, April 07, 2014

1314 Madison Avenue on Life Support

The ad biz is sick.  And soon, it may die.  If it does, death will be self inflicted.  And it will take an awful lot with it.

A little background:  the newspaper industry is fighting for its life.  People aren’t buying the paper or many of the traditional magazines. You can get all that on the internet.

So print is putting up what they call “paywalls.”  You subscribe on line or you get nothing but a taste… kind of like when you read the headlines on the newsstand but have to buy the paper to get the whole story.

Print ad placements are in freefall.  Internet advertising is on the rise.  But it costs less and is more easily ignored.  So revenue is down across the board.

And it’s not just newspapers.  It’s radio and television.  TV programs are shrinking so the can put more ads in.  Ad marathons are annoying. So what are people doing?  They’re recording their favorite shows and when they play them back, they skip the ads.

No eyes, no business.

One day the makers of prescription and over the counter pharmaceuticals, personal injury lawyers, automobiles, cruises, fuels, and anything else are going to realize no one’s watching.  The same goes for retailers, window and siding installers, real estate brokers and the launchers of class action suits.

You don’t have a Digital Video Recorder and your VCR hasn’t worked in years? No problem.  Commercial breaks today are long enough for you to hit the refrigerator or the bathroom confident that you won’t miss a moment of “American Idol” or “Hannibal” or the droning of the oh-so-sincere Charlie Rose in the morning.

If by now you aren’t fed up with the length of these commercial breaks, you should probably see a mental health professional.

So we ignore TV ads, we ignore internet ads. We glance at billboards only as we speed past them at 65 miles an hour.  And this has injured the ad industry, maybe fatally.

This country’s economy is completely dependent on the movement of money.  Buying and selling keeps the whole thing afloat.  Advertising provides the impetus for both.

And the ad industry had better learn two things.  Thing one: if the ad is great and everyone remembers everything about it except what’s being sold, the ad is useless.

Two: If the ad is stupid or too loud or impossible to understand or executed amateurishly, no one will remember what’s being sold.

Maybe you think you’re Shakespeare.  Maybe you think you’re an award winning filmographer.

Chances are, you aren’t. Get over yourself.

Maybe you’re Honest Harry of Honest Harry’s Computer Emporium formerly Honest Harry Oldsmobile.

Chances are, you ARE. Get over yourself.

These death dealing conditions can be corrected. And they’d better be. And soon.

Is there an ad doctor in the house?

And if so, do you take Obamacare patients?


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I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2014

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