Advertising Week 2014: Is Advertising Bulls**t?

ITN's Mark Austin interviewing Ad contrarian Bob Hoffman, who shrugs his shoulders at the industry predictions of the day...

ITN’s Mark Austin interviewing Ad contrarian Bob Hoffman, who shrugs his shoulders at the industry predictions of the day…

‘When Armageddon strikes, there will be two things left in this world; cockroaches and copywriters…’ A former creative himself, US ‘ad contrarian’ Bob Hoffman is the first to own the influence, effectiveness and resilience of advertising. But during a long-haul career he argues the amount of industry predictions he’s seen published, and crumble, would suggest brands, media owners and agencies have reached a point where we’ve become ‘drunk on our own bullshit’. Nice. Thanks Bob.

Troublingly, he may have a point. In 2004 Forbes and Advertising Age claimed we’d ‘reached the end of the road for traditional advertising’… We hadn’t. In 2007 Wired said: ‘The web will wipe out TV within 7-10 years’. Well, it’s seven years on and we’re pretty sure it’s still the big square box in your living room that all your furniture points at.

The point was not a fossilised view that ‘above the line is best’. That is obviously not the case. Bob himself has created his own brand entirely through social marketing. The point, is that we’re so preoccupied with what the future holds we’re at risk of missing opportunities in the present. We’re obsessed with the delivery of advertising, when what we need to do is get back to the ideas behind it. The stories. Thinking about the message being imparted first, and where it’s being placed second. There is no point battling to reach the eyes of the consumer, be it with a homepage takeover, an X Factor TV slot or a YouTube video, if the idea you’re presenting them with is anything less than brilliant. And that’s the bit that really can’t be faked.

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