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Much Ado About Advertising
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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It is an exciting time to be in advertising. Everywhere one looks, there's new technology coming into the fold. There are new reports about online spending and social networks. The "Age of Mobile" isn't rising, it's been here all along! Go figure. Clients and agencies are still trying to figure out ways to play nice together. Whether we like it or not, the industry is changing. With more information than ever before, consumers are much harder to reach and persuade. Consumers demand a voice, and some brands would rather appease the ignorant crowds than strategically position messages within its marketing departments with its agency partners.

New questions arise.

How can we differentiate in a saturated market? 

Indeed, AdLand is moving fast, and how fascinating it is to be a part of it. While this transformation is taking place, many practitioners are stepping up to the place to add their two cents.

Lori Turner-Wilson, founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing, wrote a piece in the Memphis Daily News about how advertising should simulate the "larger than life" mentality of Vegas. Lori suggests that brands need to stop with the copycat campaigns and engage in "breakthrough advertising." She went on to mention several ambient campaign examples from that Mr. Clean, Coca-Cola, and Gold Toe.

That's not all. Eric Whittlake from Babcock & Jenkins believes that in order for shops to survive (more in the B2B world, but overall still applicable) that we must prepare our campaigns in a way that they can weather external events. He brought up the example of  the outrage many GoDaddy sites experienced. If your brand survived that outage, and its competitor didn't, are you poised to attack? If your brand did suffer, was it poised to limit the damage? This rings true to the many external forces that advertising has no control over. An airline campaign that looks great might not be effective if there was an accident reported. And we all saw Carnival's reaction when one of its ships crashed. Though the business itself needs answers, the advertising cannot contol those functions.

Lastly, with Gen Yers reaching maturity, with more attention paid to the planet and people, and with the public's general distaste for advertising, a "new" model of "goodvertising" is popping up. This relates to ad campaigns and creative work done specifically to raise awareness of societal issues around the world, and cause marketing to make changes to the way we and others live. Tom Kolster wrote a book called Goodvertising, and it is a compilation of campaigns that exemplify this kind of work. We mentioned before that the chief of Havas, David Jones, believes that this wave of advertising will be the future.

Is there a right answer that will end all this commotion? Probably not. In the wonderful world of advertising, each practitioner brings up valid points. Brands, now and beyond, will need to stand out, prepare for the world around them, and find a way to improve the environment in which they operate. A lofty goal, but not an unrealistic one.

Indeed, it is an exciting time to be in advertising.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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