I’ve worked in advertising for six or so years and read and absorbed and listened to and watched a million and one theories about how to sell stuff to people.
There is no consensus and there is no silver bullet, which is why you have a million and one agency spiels, and a million and one marketing textbooks, and a million and one conferences, and a million and one schmucks like me desperately reading and listening to and watching a million and one theories in an infinite loop of pitiful ignorance.
Advertising often brings to mind the politician’s logical fallacy – ‘we must do something, this is something, so let’s do this’. You never really know if what you are doing on behalf of a brand is the right thing (despite the best efforts of testing companies) but marketing departments exist, so marketing must be done.
Which is why the cynic in me responded so positively to this piece on the state of the advertising industry today from Luke Sullivan. I particularly love this:
The most unusual thing a brand can do to show up on a consumer’s radar is to be authentic. To be real. To cut the bullshit and quit trying to hide the fact that you’re trying to sell them something. Be authentic. Talk about about your brand the way you would tell a friend. You wouldn’t lie. You wouldn’t exaggerate. You wouldn’t use exclamation points. You wouldn’t oversell. You wouldn’t “spin.”
You’d say, “Hey, check this cool thing out. It works pretty well. I bought one. Maybe you’d like it too.”