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The Point of Advertising
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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AdLand does an impressive job of convoluting an extremely simple objective. We cannot lie; in the years we have written for Beyond Madison Avenue, we have probably contributed.

There is a quote that we like to use when we present the foundations of marketing and advertising to groups (mostly high school) who are just beginning to learn about our industry.

The quote is from Leo Burnett, and it says: "Advertising says 'here's what we got. Here's what it can do for you, and here's how to get it."

David Ogilvy is quoted saying, "If it doesn't sell, it isn't creative."

Both advertising legends point to the reason advertising exists. The point is to ultimately get consumers to purchase your goods and services.

We are quite tired of the "stop making ads" mumbo jumbo, and the people in the advertising and marketing world who make up silly names like "unmarketing" and "change agentry."

Stop it.

Advertising can do good for people while still being advertising. Yes, when nonprofits use advertising to get noble causes out to the public, will the awareness not do good for the population being served? If an ad agency helps a business let people find additional places for food, then decreases the waiting time in lines, lowering tempers and uneasy environments, is that not a good thing? If successful brands use money derived from advertising to help charities, push education initiatives, or supplement extracurricular activities, are those not worthy goals?

It is not advertising that is the problem. It is the people who are silent about the good of advertising who let it get trampled on. Those people who think advertising is evil are pushing their own agenda and foolishly believe they can afford or do without the goods and services provided by advertising.

The annoyance these people are causing is making their calls less appealing. 

But we digress. The point of advertising is to partner with and bolster the sales activities brands or organizations are engaging in. Are a lot of things that are unnecessary thrown in the faces of consumers? Absolutely. But no brand is holding the consumer at gunpoint to buy it. No one is threatening to burn down your house if that new 60-inch flat screen isn't hanging in there by Black Friday. 

But if you're looking for a flat screen, advertising can help you weigh your options.

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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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