Advertising is in crisis


Advertising continues to lose its credibility with consumers and brands and as a result has to resort to doing whatever it can to grab our attention. There is an advertising agency with an office on the Federal Highway in Malaysia that has the tagline, “Truth well told” but the truth is the truth is rarely explored in advertising today.

There was a time when ads made sense. When ads gave us some information about a product that made us want to learn more or even test or buy the product. Back in the day, we used to see an ad and scramble for a pen and paper to write the brand name down in the hope that when we went shopping we would be able to find the brand on a shelf or in a showroom.

Nowadays, ads seem to be created for awards panels or to impress us with their creativity, the cleverness of the photography, the humour, the beauty of the models, their entertainment value.

Coco de Mer: X from TBWA\London on Vimeo.

This latest ad from Coco De Mer (I think they are a lingerie brand but they might be a brothel, advertising agency, soft porn company or high class call girl agency) was rated ad of the day by respected advertising publication adweek.

Walter Campbell, the creator of the ad is quoted as saying, “The erotic doesn’t get the same overt attention as everything else on the cultural menu, so we created a film to surprise, excite and most importantly, encourage people to delve that little bit deeper into their fantasies—to reignite that connection.”

Sorry, but that’s not what advertising is about. Advertising should be credible, it should be useful to me, it should encourage me to learn about a product or service, show how it is relevant to me and how it can be useful to me and if it features people like me – testimonials are even better – I might buy into it.

According to this report, 84% of Millennials don’t trust traditional advertising and it is probably ads like the one above that have contributed to this lack of trust. This lack of trust is causing a crisis in advertising because trust is key.

Until advertising accepts this and gets back to basics, the crisis in advertising will continue and that trust will be lost, perhaps for ever.

My book “Stop advertising and start branding” will be out soon. To register for an early copy, please contact me here or on Twitter @brandconsultant