Ok. This topic keeps surfacing over and over in books and articles I've been reading and to be honest, I'm having a hard time believing it.
Advertising is not dead. Advertising's function to inform may be dying. As planners, we are often thought of as "ad people" rather than "idea generators." And herein lies the problem. Much of the world sees advertising the same way we see painting (as Al Reis in The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR has concluded). Painting was born hundred and even thousands of years ago to create a portrayal of an image. It's main purpose was to communicate visually the realistic vision of a place, person or thing it was designed to capture. And then, it changed.
It became art. And art's function is very different. Art provokes emotion. Art disturbs and challenges thought.
Al & Laura Ries believe that advertising has become an art form and as a result, it has lost it's credibility. It's power of persuasion. And it is driven by the idea that to be creative, we as agencies are challenged to create new and different forms of expression for a brand. From TV campaigns to web ideas. We often walk away from being realistic and practical (as advertising and painting's purpose once was) to create elaborate stories, humorous tales and snap-tastic one-liners like "wassup" or "where's the beef."
So much of what we do works. It really works. We hear the water cooler chatter about the latest creative idea that becomes part of pop culture (think sock puppets and talking frogs) but how much of what we do or create actually makes a difference in building business, solving a market share decline or improving purchase consideration. We do a lot in this industry to make "noise" and we do it resoundingly well, but we collectively fail to help clients find ways to fix their business because we focus on creating buzz-worthy awareness. Some of the most brilliant advertising or engagement ideas have failed to produce business results because they were trying too hard to be creative vs. ownable and implicit.
Sure, advertising is just a small fragment of changing and influencing human behavior. But that's just it. We think too often when writing briefs about filling media schedules and not on what solves problems. Ideas are not locked onto paper or production budgets. They can be anything.
Resign yourself from being an advertising guru and start being an IDEARist.