Why the internet is not the enemy of advertising

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  • June 24, 2015
Stephen Kenwright

Stephen Kenwright

Director of Search

I’ve been reading that advertising has been losing its impact for years, but I completely disagree.

The ability of good advertising to inspire action hasn’t changed in the internet age. What has changed, however, is the action that consumers take.

In the ‘Mad Men’ era, an ad was successful if it got consumers into the store, or onto the forecourt, or into the restaurant.

Ads would try to convince the public that they wanted something and the public would respond accordingly.

The idea that people want fewer things in the internet age is ridiculous. If anything, they want more. They want it faster and they want it cheaper.

Now when the TV set tells a potential customer they want something the customer takes out their phone and looks for a second opinion.

Maybe they do want it, but they want to know who has already got it and what they’ve been doing with it.

They want to go and buy it, but what is it like to live with? They want to go and eat it, but what is the service like?

How’s the battery life? What looks good with this when I’m wearing it? What’s in it for me?

The problem with the concept of “advertising losing its effectiveness” is that it assumes the internet is the enemy.

The ad men feel like they are losing their power because… well, they are. But advertising is not. The ad men have to share power now, but that doesn’t mean that the work they do is any less powerful.

The creative and the copywriter and the planner were a team. They did great work. They got it out there. They inspired people to take action.

The creative and the copywriter and the planner are now part of a much bigger team, including everyone from developers to social media managers to SEOs. There are a million more kinds of media to buy.

Advertising will always have a place in the path to purchase but that path is becoming longer.

Great ads will continue to inspire action, and brands that win in the internet age are those that understand which actions their ads are likely to inspire, answering the question that matters: What’s in it for me?

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