What was the last ad you saw that you really remember? The likelihood is that nothing comes immediately to mind. This is ironic as we are now surrounded by more and more advertising material. And they should be increasingly better targeted given that advertisers can see our browsing history, previous searches and even what we like on social media.
Firstly, we’re getting better at blanking them out ourselves. Our brains are struggling to cope with the huge amount of information around us, and are therefore becoming more ruthless and ignoring things that aren’t relevant.
Second reason, as well as giving us greater opportunities to see ads, technology is also helping us to skip them. Most of us fast forward through the ads on recorded programmes. Websites are also waking up to the idea that you can offer a premium, ad free product to increase revenues.
The last main reason might be the real issue. Most ads aren’t actually that interesting anymore. Big budget TV ads still exist, but the vast majority are much more basic and boring. The creativity is more in the algorithm that understands your intent, finds a corresponding ad and then keeps tracking you from site to site. It would be physically impossible for the advertiser to create hundreds of creative ads telling you about. There don’t appear to be ads that tell your friends about, like the Tango, Guiness or Levi’s campaigns of the advertising golden era. Too many TV or billboard ads are generic or ‘good enough’ in the eyes of the client, rather than pushing the boundaries. Targeting is replacing creativity as the key factor in success, so what does this mean for the advertising industry?
It could mean the end of ads as we know it. Brands are looking for different ways to engage with customers, so are putting their money into sponsorship, different events, content marketing and social media activations. However swapping the TV ads you’ve always done for a Facebook or YouTube-based programme requires a leap of faith from marketing directors and ad planners alike. But the reality is that we will be always dependent on talent. Nothing can replace talent. Like always, a wave of articles are discussing the end of creative power in our advertising model. Let’s not be fooled. Whatever we do, what ever our industry becomes, whatever the tools we use to engage people, we will always need great ideas. We just need to rethink it over, to see how to get back the spark we’re missing nowadays. There is a future, nobody took time to shape it yet.