JCL Blog

What if Advertising Doesn't Work… At All?

Forget not knowing which half does not work.  Click through rates are at 0.02 – it is not that hard to imagine 0.00.  OK, maybe a Bud advert gets a guy off of the couch and headed to the frig to have another beer.  But outside of that could there be anyone left that believes anything they see in advertising?

When AT&T says they have the best cell coverage, or BP says they really care about the environment, we know that in fact the opposite is true.  Following this line of thinking I suppose the scale of advertising effectiveness could go below 0.  There are a few attack ads I have seen this campaign season that have inspired me to fight harder for the guy being attacked.  I would put that in the negative effectiveness category.

Advertising worldwide is a $400B industry.  If everyone comes to believe that advertising just does not work, it could free up that money to do other things – like lower the cost of products, or pay for R&D.  Alternatively, it could be a means to accelerate creative destruction.  Essentially a tax on companies that make bad products or that have weak values.  They spend their last available dollars on big branding efforts and then go out of business.

It is interesting to note that Google, a company that makes its money selling advertising, does very little advertising of its own products and services.   We could say that with over 65% market share – they don’t have to advertise.  If we see a big campaign out of Google, it may be a sign the end is near!

What will a world without advertising look like?