The Changing Business of Advertising

Posted by on August 19, 1998

A Monday Morning Memo from The Wizard of Ads

Condensed from the writings of Harvey MacKay, author of Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.

Current research tells us the average American is exposed to more than 1000 advertising messages daily, and that more than 85% of these ads “simply do not register”. Of the 15% that cut through the clutter, 5% are so irritating they’re counter productive. This means less than 10% of the ads are actually doing any good.

Instead of improving the ads however, the advertising industry has responded by simply turning up the volume. Instead of getting better ads, we’re getting more ads.

One supermarket chain has started experimenting with advertising on the floor of their stores. Consider: If every package on the shelf is screaming “buy me” and the windows and walls are covered with posters, and the public address system is blaring out specials, and the end of every aisle has a point of purchase display, and even the grocery bags have ads printed on them, then the real question is not “Why the floor?” but rather “Why not the ceiling?”

Harvey MacKay
“Creative”is not necessarily “Persuasive”

Too many business owners are settling for ads which are merely “Creative” . Yet advertising can easily be Creative, Beautiful, Clever, Elegant, or Funny without being persuasive in the least. As you’ve heard me say dozens of times, “The persuasiveness of any ad campaign is limited primarily by the persuasiveness of the ad itself.”

Any time I speak in public, business owners immediately want to know “What’s the secret? Radio? TV? Newspaper? Billboards? Direct Mail?”

In reality, it isn’t the method of delivery that matters so much as the persuasiveness of the message. It’s what you say that counts.

Hey! It’s going to be a great Christmas!

Roy H. Williams

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