Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
February 20, 2008 9:35 PM

Common Sense Is Not So Common... Especially When It Comes To Advertising

According to Wikiquote, the saying, "common sense is not so common" is attributed to the French Writer and Philosopher, François-Marie Arouet (also known as Voltaire). I find myself thinking about that quote a lot lately. I also catch myself picking up the book Purple Cow by Seth Godin frequently to inspire some newer thoughts I've had on the power of branding and building your own Personal Brand.

There's something esoteric about Branding. No matter how hard a company tries to "create" a brand, the ultimate shared experience by the mass public is, truly, what the brand is. Funny enough, when it comes to Advertising, that rule does not hold true. I believe that to be the reason we're constantly inundated with "better, brighter, whiter, faster"-type of messaging.

Wouldn't common sense tell us that the easiest way to counter all of this bad advertising (henceforth known as "badvertising") is to create products and services that are easily believable?

What if advertising did the same thing?

There's no chance we can solve the badvertising problem in one Blog posting, but what would Marketing, Communications, Advertising and Public Relations look like if it focused solely on bringing forward an easily believable message about easily believable products and services?

People who had a need for that product or service would flock to it. And, they would be loyal... forever. Which is the reasoning why Marketers exist in the first place. Advertising needs to transform in this new world of transparency and authenticity. It needs to move beyond snake-oil, and into a place where it's doing what it was intended to do - communicating what a product or service does. The "why you need to care" or "benefits" will be self-evident.

They will be obvious.

It does seem like common sense. Then again, you know what they say about common sense.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Jen Zingsheim
    Mitch Joel

    I love this "adver-topia" of which you speak... :-)

    I am having trouble picturing the advertising though..."buy our product because it works" only gets a company so far. To grow, either their market needs to grow organically, or they need to gain market share by attracting the customers of competitors. And if it's a publicly held company, the pressure is there to grow, grow, grow every quarter and it all turns into an aggressive mishmash of unveiling new iterations of the product that are meh, which begets badvertising, which begets more silly product extentions, breeding more badvertising...ugh.

    I wish advertising would work that way though, I really do...

  • Posted by Steve
    Mitch Joel

    I've worked in advertising for a few years, and I'm happy to see older 'buzzword' trends slowly disappearing. The big thing these days is presenting your company as 'real' as possible.

    One big thing companies are doing is adding blogs to their main sites, showing the ups and downs of the company and posting a slew of off-the-cuff remarks.

    User-generated content is another new way of making brands seem more 'real', but in my opinion, it just makes a company seem lazy when it comes to their marketing...

    While I'm ranting... wanted to let you know about a newsreader out there that exists that bases it's content on what the user actually WANTS to see. It's called 'Sprout'. Very intuitive, quickly learns what you like to read and what doesn't interest you. There's a free trial on now. You can find it here: www.yoursprout.ca.

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