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Why Do We Hate Ourselves?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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In a relationship, you must love yourself before you can love others, and expect others to love you. Should that adage not carry on when it comes to your profession? How can AdLand expect to get love from consumers and other professionals, when it fails to have respect for itself?

We got some issues, folks.

Adobe, with the assistance of research firm Edelman Berland, fielded research across the U.S., China, and Japan. They wanted to find out how consumers and marketers thought about The State of Online Advertising. If you haven't seen the report yet, it is very interesting to see what our brethren had to say.

AdPeople apparently think that what they do is not valuable to society. Does is help business? Yes. Is it effective? Absolutely. But does it make you sleep better at night knowing you've done something good for society? Results are mixed.

And consumers agree: according to the report, only 13% of consumers think that marketing and advertising add value to society.

We believe the right phrase is "what we have here is a failure to communicate."

There are several disconnections between consumers and AdLand. Unfortunately we don't have the word count nor our dear audience the attention span to go through all of them, but the glaring one is the value that advertising provides in people's daily lives.

The world that you live in is brought to you by advertising. Thank the alcohol and fashion industry for their support of magazines so that your Glamour, Elle, and Conde Nast magazines are not $75 an issue. Like reading newspapers? Good thing the papers aren't over $4 to access and read. You're welcome. Thank the businesses and organizations that run commercials so your cable bill isn't $800/month. Thank online advertisers that you have free access to information, so you don't have to pay $5 – $10 a month to visit sites for information. The fact that consumers automatically assume that things are "free" to them without a trade-off is bewildering.

And AdLand lets them get away with it because we apparently act like teenagers and are hating ourselves. Lock it up.

Of course, not advertising campaign will involve life-saving work. And sure, not every piece of advertising will be life-changing either. But for only a third of advertising/marketing professionals to think that what they do is valuable is disturbing. 

If 66% of AdLand doesn't care, no wonder the majority of advertising we see sucks. 

Advertising is the language of business. If business makes the world go 'round, then advertising is crucial to the world spinning process. 

As for the rest of the report, nothing else was anything new. Most research suggests that people like seeing advertising in their favorite magazines or TV, while they dislike anything online. At least the study is consistent with the field.

The point is, no one is going to start taking Cindy Gallop's advice and "start making advertising good" unless those in advertising take the first step. If that means we need to find better advocates for the industry, let's start the search. We need to get the point across to consumers just how valuable advertising really is, whether they like to see it or not. And AdLand, we need to show our colleagues the good work that advertising actually does. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. But let's not trash ourselves. There are plenty of others who are happy to take on that responsibility.


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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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