I attended a marketing association meeting yesterday. I don’t usually attend this group’s meetings because they tend to focus on only one of the 4 Ps of marketing – Promotion (go figure). This time looked different though. The summary of the presentation was as follows:
Let’s face it. Our marketing world is coming apart at the seams. Consumers are running from us. Media is fragmenting. Technology is evolving at light-speed and impacting our lives even faster… Time has become the new currency. And entertainment the new information purveyor. What does that mean to marketers? Big changes, baby. It’s the Darwin Era in American marketing. And the survivors will have branding in their DNA.
This is a presentation given by the VP/Creative Director of the most prominent ad agency in Tulsa. I thought, “Holy cripes! They got it.” I really didn’t expect traditional ad agencies in the area to have this figured out yet.
So, I go to the meeting. At the beginning of her preso, she got my head nodding quite a bit. She talked about transparency, citizen marketers, and the need to develop relationships with customers. She did a very good job of laying out the problem. Then came the solution. And in true ad exec fashion, she gave her solution in the form of ADVERTISING. She played ad after ad of what she thought was funny, cute, and well-targeted. Uhm… so how is that transparent?
So, the solution to being transparent and developing relationships with customers = advertising that is more creative? Are those “Big changes, baby?” How about advertising that is more transparent… authentic? Instead, it sounded like the same trite answers from the same clueless advertising execs.
I was amazed that in nearly the same breath, she praised Starbucks and Burger King (don’t hyperventilate John Moore). Talk about polar opposites! Starbucks is all about the customer experience and very little about advertising. Burger King is all about advertising and very little about the experience.
I went from nodding to shaking my head. I couldn’t disagree more with her accolades for Crispen Porter & Bogusky. Are they creative? Yes. Entertaining? Yes. But they’re also participating in the marginalization of marketing. Marketing no longer has to relate to the business, products, or services they promote. They just have to entertain the target audience. It’s like the offspring of the worst of Madison Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. And it disgusts me.
So what happened here? Why did I get sucked into a presentation, only to find out that it really wasn’t “as advertised.” It all comes down to one little sentence I glossed over in the presentation summary:
“And entertainment [is] the new information purveyor.”
Entertainment is apparently the best method for transparency according to ad agencies.
They still don’t get it.