October 01, 2015

Digital Hypocrites Getting What They Deserve

"Information wants to be free."
That was the moronic mantra of the digerati and the digital publishing industry.

When they were stealing content from newspapers and magazines and republishing it...
"Information wants to be free."
When they were hijacking intellectual property from artists and writers...
"Information wants to be free."
When they were aggregating other peoples' work and monetizing it...
"Information wants to be free."
As long as they could make some money from it, information wanted to be free.

Now that the greed, sleaze and stupidity of the online ad industry are driving people to ad blockers, information don't wanna be so free no more. Now "free" is "robbery"

Now they're telling us that there's a price. Now they're saying that in order to get all this "free" information we are not allowed to ignore the advertising. Yeah, suddenly there's a cost factor.

When they could make some money from it, information wanted to be free.

Now that their revenue stream is threatened, information wants to have a price tag.

September 30, 2015

Volkswagen Will Be Saved By Its Advertising

There is an article in Adweek this week entitled, "How Volkswagen Just Squandered 55 Years of Great Advertising."

The truth is exactly the opposite.

If VW is to extricate itself from the mess it has gotten into, perhaps the biggest asset it has is its tradition of superior advertising.

If this disgraceful atrocity had been perpetrated by Mazda or Fiat or Buick they'd be toast.

But it's different with Volkswagen. We like Volkswagen. We like it because, over time, their advertising has made us like it.

Now let's be a little careful here. They have not had 55 years of great advertising. Nobody does great advertising for 55 years. They've had their share of dogs (anyone remember Fahrvergnugen?) But they've had a lot more great advertising than the other car makers.

If they recover (and they will) the essential element to their recovery will be the reservoir of positive sentiment their advertising has created among consumers.

As I have said before in this space,
"Advertising serves two functions. The first function is the one that every marketer focuses on -- sales. But the second one is at least as important. Advertising is business insurance." 
One of the great blind spots that hardline advocates of online advertising (particularly display and search) have is their shallow belief in advertising as simply a sales or transactional undertaking.

In fact, the insurance value that excellent advertising builds over time is every bit as important.

Over the next 18 months, Volkswagen is about to learn that the billions of dollars they paid for business insurance over the past half century was worth every cent.


September 24, 2015

Not Really A Blog Post

So I'm traveling and speaking for the next few days and I won't be posting until next week some time.

Today I'm in Winnipeg, Canada speaking to the Broadcasters Association of Manitoba and doing a interview with the CBC.

Tomorrow I'll be meeting with a group of Canadian advertising and marketing students. Poor bastards.

Then it's on to NYC for Advertising Week XII. You can tell it's a festival of bullshit by the Roman numerals. I'm speaking on Monday at 10:30 am at the AOL Stage, 11 Times Square. The title of the talk will be "Marketers Are From Mars, Consumers Are From New Jersey." I'm gonna need some muscle to protect me from deranged digital maniacs so get your ass over there.

And as long as I'm pimping, it wouldn't kill you to buy my book either.