Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id LAA17480 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Thu, 12 Jul 2001 11:23:52 +0100 Message-ID: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745F88@inchna.stir.ac.uk> From: Vincent Campbell <email@example.com> To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com> Subject: RE: It's an ad, ad, ad world Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 11:16:31 +0100 X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2650.21) Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1" X-Filter-Info: UoS MailScan 0.1 [D 1] Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
This small of comments is very interesting.
My point about the ubiquity of advertising exceeding its impact is
reasonably easy to see once you think about it. Advertisers and marketing
people are essentially convinced (and are good at convincing their
clients/bosses) that there would be no business without them.
Take Marks & Spencer (a major high street chain of department stores in the
UK), which has been suffering significantly reduced profits over the last
few years. It has undertaken a major rehaul of its clothing provision,
including a high profile new advertising campaign that generated lots of
good PR coverage (because it feature larger women in the ads rather than the
stick-thin models of normal ladieswear advertising). The result? This
week, overall profits are down over 2%, and IIRC the news said they were
down 9% in profits from clothing.
Besides the basic point about advertising is that at best they are preaching
to the converted. Andrew mentioned Guiness ads- they've won awards for
their innovation, generally being really interesting ads. But they aren't
going to make people like me, who can't stand stout, drink it. And the
basic premise of advertising, the selling point that they put to potential
clients is- we'll get get people purchasing your product, full stop/period.
What I find even more annoying is advertising for companies whose products
you can't buy (e.g. BNFL), or ads that explictly aim to alter attitudes-
currently after a year of utter incompetence on the British railyways, the
companies have clubbed together to produce ads saying they've sorted all the
problems out, as if anyone is going to believe that. My first thought was
maybe they'd have got the trains running on time again a bit quicker if
they'd saved the money from these pointless ads and used it to repar tracks.
Again public health advertising campaigns are usually very unsuccessful, on
their own, and that's not because the ads are rubbish. Some campaigns do
appear effective, but only in relation to a range of other measures, that
arguably could have worked without the ads, e.g. drink driving campaigns in
the UK, usually conducted around Christmas, have seen some if the most
harrowing and emotionally powerful ads ever seen in the UK. Drunk driving
rates, I believe have fallen over the last decade or so, but as well as the
ads, there have been increased penalties for drunk driving, plus police
activities such as increased random testing.
In corporate advertising, if the product is crap or no-one likes it, it
doesn't matter how much money you spend on ads, they're not going to make
any long term difference to whether or not the product fails. Yes,
currently if you don't advertise at all, then maybe no-one will become aware
of your product and it will fail that way, even if it's good. But even
then, a product's utility (and cost) can ensure another route to
profitability, word of mouth, which those bugger marketing people are now
trying to claim they thought of in 'viral marketing'.
I'm sure it's been done, but I bet it would be interesting to examine the
early history of companies like Coke and Levi's to see what built their
success early on- product quality and word of mouth, or aggressive
advertising and marketing.
A question for Andrew to finish (If people have got this far without giving
up on me!): Do you prefer Guiness to other stouts like Beamish or Caffrey's?
Most of my stout drinking friends prefer one or other of these to Guiness.
They're not advertised nearly as heavily as Guiness though.
> From: Chris Taylor
> Reply To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2001 10:21 am
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: It's an ad, ad, ad world
> I still think that this is all much clearer when we view the ads
> themselves as products, sold to consumers of advertising (namely
> marketing departments - businesses generally). Sometimes it's on
> reputation, sometimes they may present statistics about penetration and
> so on, but fundamentally the reason an ad appears is because a consumer
> of ads bought it from a producer of them.
> Robin presents an interesting case - the small businessman who keeps a
> very close watch on his ads' effects; however I don't think large
> compartmentalised businesses will have any one person with the
> equivalent grasp of cashflow detail for the whole company, making them
> much more prey to advert salespersons.
> Chris Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
> http://bioinf.man.ac.uk/ »people»chris
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