Monday, July 2, 2012

The Collapse of Advertising

Hitting the Mark
I don't know if you noticed this, but it seems that mass advertising has very little effect anymore. In the advertising world, advertisers work to overcome "the clutter." The clutter is basically the noise generated by other advertisements. We are hitting a saturation point were people are desensitized from visual stimulation. Think about it: does seeing a Coke logo really make you buy Coke? It is not like people don't know what Coke is already. What are they hoping to achieve? Are they trying to reach a new audience? Are they trying to remind you what Coke is? I certainly never forgot...

Online advertising is another medium that is become saturated. I am pretty sure people have learned to tune out the boarders and certain spots on websites. Seriously, who even looks in those spaces anymore? Moreover, what about adblocking and script killing browser extensions? The scary part is that companies pay significant amounts of money to appear online. Myself, I intentionally avoid looking anywhere where I know an advertisement is. If I happen to see an advertisement, I might even intentionally not buy the product.

So if the current version of advertising is broken, what is the next generation of advertising? I think the next generation is going to be word of mouth. Yes, we have come full circle, but it is not just any form of word of mouth: in person word of mouth. Online user reviews are poorly written and generally don't have enough credibility to use reliably. People are turning off from the self appointed faceless opinion leaders on the internet. Opinion leaders are coming back as in person friends and not online authorities because people trust their friends.

Update: Slashdot has a great set of articles related to the decline of advertising. It seems that I am not the only one who noticed!

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