Both Clients and advertising agencies are deluding themselves. Marketing has to accept there is no way out of its decline. For one blood-curdling moment it seemed that the marketing world had woken up to the fact that their preposterous industry had finally been caught in the act. Pepsi ,the world’s leader in advocating and implementing new-age marketing nonsense, and now paying the price for its foolish belief in the three-headed marketing monsters: “branding,” “engagement,” and “conversation.” (Here’s a tip for anyone left alive in the Pespi marketing department. There is one thing, and one thing only, that advertising is about — persuasion. All the rest is word games and chit chat. Got it?) Last week it was reported that after years of fighting Coke for first place in the soft drink category, Pepsi-Cola had fallen to third place.
The L.A. Times called it… “…a stunning fall from grace.” Pepsi-Cola and Diet Pepsi saw their U.S. sales volumes in 2010 fall sharply, by 4.8% and 5.2%, respectively… The U.S. soft drink market is about 74 billion dollars. Therefore a 5% drop in Pepsi market share (which is about 10%0 cost them well over $350 million on the Pepsi brand alone! The goal of advertising is to create a clear awareness of your company and its Unique Selling Proposition. Unfortunately, most advertisers evaluate their ads by the comments they hear from the people around them. The slickest, clearest, funniest, most creative and most different ads are the ones most likely to generate these comments. See the problem? When we confuse “response” with “results” we create “attention getting ads” which say absolutely nothing. The business owner is uniquely unqualified to see his company or his product objectively.He is on the inside, looking out, trying to describe himself to a person on the outside looking in. Its hard to read the label when youre inside the bottle. Too much product knowledge causes the business owner to answer questions that no one is asking. ThisLets Face it. There is no answer to the Advertising and Marketing Crisis!makes for extremely ineffective advertising.
Marketing has to accept there is no way out of its decline. The rot began when we chose never to take heed of Professor Ehrenbergs statements on advertising effectiveness! Because nothing has changed despite all the ballyhoo about Social Media, Facebook et al. Wherever ads appear, especially on Social Media, Ehrenbergs resolute focus on the facts what data actually tells us led him to challenge many a marketing bandwagon such as loyalty. You may wish to improve the brands performance by improving customer retention, he observed, but without a higher market penetration it just wont happen. His work on advertising effectiveness was equally challenging. He argued convincingly that there was no evidence that advertising persuades anybody to do anything; advertising can only ever be a weak force that improves brand recognition and/or jogs consumers memories. Ehrenbergs uncompromising insistence on staying only with the facts is probably why his work was so studiously ignored by so many sections of the marketing community. The consequences of this has been far more lasting than any recession could ever be. Slowly, very slowly, two opposing forces are massing and sooner or later they must clash. One, still in the ascendant but wobbling, is top-down-management, the imposed judgement of an international elite. Call this elite what you like, Marketing, New York Advertising, London Creative, Saatchi and Saatchi, WPP or a sneering cabal of all these elements. Its leadership is weak, its self-confidence beginning to falter. The other now stirring is bottom-up: the rising dissatisfaction of disillusioned shoppers, disillusioned by shoddy goods, misleading advertising and specifically shoddy service! The Marketing world fight shy of consulting it testifies only to their fear of the verdict. The current crisis leads us to look for someone to blame, something to postpone the unavoidable. We look away from something that stares us in the face, the imperium of Marketing and Advertising is over, never to return. Our predominance is gone. Our inheritance is diminished. We are humbled and will not be raised again. We have overstretched our resources and we have most certainly, been outspending our own budgets. Our output has been falling behind while our shopping habits have been racing ahead. Future Business historians will call these decades The Great Evasion! The zeitgeist of the turn-of-the-century Advertising and Marketing world was to believe and promote anyone who told us we could have it all, and to buy the marketing and advertising bullshit they designed for us. Marketing and Advertising are not the answers to our problems, and, in point of fact, they have been partially responsible for the problems we now face, there is no answer. To even think that we will emerge from all this into a sunlit marketing and advertising sea where we beat the rest of the world at their own game is pure fantasy!