Advertising as Education

Old ads look funny to us today in part because advertisers believed the purpose of ads was to educate consumers about the product. Direct hard sell didacticism resulted in repetitious ads, heavy with product attributes.  Today few ads include product information; most ads work by creating associations, such as with celebrities, making emotional appeals, or…

Advertainment

A recent advertising column by Stuart Elliott in the New York Times describes a new advertising strategy by the retailer Target. Characters from three different ABC situation comedies (Modern Family, The Middle, and Back in the Game) will appear in three different 30-second commercials giving each other gifts—from Target, of course. Having characters from different…

In-House Ad Agencies: The Future?

Will marketers be shifting more of their advertising in-house and away from traditional advertising agencies? A recent report by the Association of National Advertisers found that more than half of the companies surveyed were developing their advertising strategies within the company rather than relying on outside agencies. The two factors contributing to this shift are…

Funning the Sponsor

The Colbert Report has satirized sponsorship. The show has also actually integrated sponsored products. As viewer, it’s sometimes hard to tell which are for real–that is, paid for by an advertiser. In this episode, Colbert razzes the brand managers at Nabisco/Kraft for sending him a memo about the (in)appropriate ways to integrate Wheat Thins into…

Adman on TV

Robin Williams plays a crazy creative adman in the forthcoming sitcom, The Crazy Ones. For her review of the sitcom, Jessica Grose at Bloomberg Businessweek interviewed me and we discussed some of the origins of the crazy creative adman character. The figure of the adman as volatile magician arose in the 1950s and ’60s, according to…