Advertising’s New Age

MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA – Advertising is of interest to everyone, not just marketers. After all, it’s advertising that pays for much of the content that many of us see (including this newspaper). But it also tells us about new products and spurs companies to improve their products and services. Of course, there’s good advertising and bad advertising (and good and bad products).

Fortunately, advertising will (and must) change in a way that will accentuate the good and reduce the bad – because advertisers will increasingly need consumers’ help in getting the word out, and consumers won’t support bad products. (That’s a slightly Utopian overstatement, but there is some truth in it.)

Of course, sometimes I have a hard time explaining what I mean when I say that advertising must change. It needs to move from sending “messages” to passive consumers to sponsorship, product placement and conversations with active consumers. The traditional skills of advertising will give way to those of public relations. 

Advertisers often look at me with a blank expression when I try to explain this.