The Death Of Advertising: The New Role Of Commercials

by Patrick on July 12, 2010

Remember when advertising was actually a persuasive tool?

You would buy a product because it was advertised to be the best, longest lasting, or a great value. Companies would pit their products against the competitors in ads, hoping that it would win the hearts and minds of the consumers that watched them.

Of course that age is long and gone.

I remember reading about the idea in The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR and years since it hasn’t been more true. We actively work to avoid ads and distrust anything wrapped in advertisement.

However that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful anymore.

Advertising has become more of an art form. As a result effective advertising doesn’t persuade, it infiltrates pop culture.

Take for instance Old Spice’s Isaiah Mustafa. You probably know him best as the Man Your Man Could Smell like.

The ad became a YouTube sensation, landing Mustafa on The Ellen Show so he could recite his memorized lines for the audience’s enjoyment. For Old Spice the ad was not only a hit on broadcast but it quickly went viral online as well.

New Old Spice Ad? The ladies of NMS swoon.

Now that Mustafa has a new ad out the NMS ladies were quick to spread it.

If you were Old Spice- wouldn’t you be excited to see people actually wanting to see your ad?

If you look back to what hits in social media then we can see Old Spice got a hit with something clever and funny.

However sometimes ads are still ads: even though this Wheat Thins online ad got written up in the New York Times, it just doesn’t ring authentic to me no matter how much they insist it is.

When do ads cut through the noise for you?

  • Mike

    The secret is getting more targeted. The more targeted you can be to your audience the more relevant your ad will be. Old Spice was great because they targeted a TON of demographics in their ad that made it appealing to the masses.

    Advertising is going to be changed in the coming years. As media networks realize that the current system sucks and develop new technologies to laser target individual interests, you will see much more targeted ads.

    *notice how the Facebook ‘like’ button has created a MASSIVE social graph that advertisers can tie into. Big name advertisers can target groups by saying ‘Only people who Follow Dmbosstone’s blog on NetworkedBlogs, Only people who are friends with Dmbosstone’ etc. Potentially displaying an ad to someone like ‘Wow did you know Patrick loves Old Spice!’

    It will be truly scary…but extremely lucrative for advertisers in the future of media :)

    • Patrick

      This sounds like something out of Minority Report- but I’m not surprised. Advertising used to be, “appeal to the lowest common denominator,” because advertising was a one shot deal with TV or print ads. Now with online there’s more information to target and it’s easier to create content to customize. You are totally right about that Mike.

  • lacochran

    I’d be curious to know if success on social networks actually equals increased sales. Or if it’s just increased recognition.

    • Patrick

      In some cases you can see where it works (Bros Icing Bros increased sales of Smirnoff Ice) but in some cases it’s just as well that it increases brand recognition and perception. Am I buying Old Spice? Not now but the image of them becoming a younger, cooler, brand than before is something that could set in.

  • Liebchen

    I don’t know if I’ve ever consciously bought something because of an ad – I think you’re right in that they’re just another form of entertainment for me at this point. Particularly the Old Spice ones.

    • Patrick

      Ya, ads won’t help you a product- the quality of the product needs to sell that. Ads are still around though to build an existing brand.

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  • melody

    you out on things when you live in asialand… like commercials for instance. Since I dont watch t.v. here… only when I do (I mean, accidentally or with a friend or when it plays in public transportation, I never choose to sit down and watch t.v. I dont understand…) I see Korean commercials. the one thing I will never miss. except for funny super bowl commercials, miss those.

  • melody

    I WILL SAY though, that I am a sucker for good advertisement and if I see something marketed really well (like my favorite candy came in a package shaped like the Korean’s soccer team jersey around the world cup) I totally buy it. If I want it that is. Just thought of that, hence two comments. ‘V’ sign.

    • Patrick

      Oh I’m a sucker for the V-sign so I guess I’ll let the double comment slide. How are Korean ads different from back here?

      • melody

        I would tell you, but I dont know… I can’t understand them as they are all in Korean. I can tell you though that you can’t sell or advertise anything unless you are already famous. You know how in America people will do commercials to break into the big time? Well, in Korea the highest of honors is to be able to do a commercial, or advertise coffee, only the biggest stars get to do that.

        • Patrick

          Do you see a lot of American stars in foreign ads? I know sometimes they’ll do it since it won’t be seen in America.

  • Mike

    Haha another good example on this blog of a guy I follow.

    • Patrick

      An ingenuous campaign.

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