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Redefine Advertising?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Here we go again.

Time after time at huge advertising and marketing conferences, people stage a battle cry about changing the definition of advertising. People either want to get rid of the word entirely and create some ridiculous phrase as to what we do or they want to deny that advertising is all about persuasion and influence.

However, we didn't expect to hear this cry from this person.

Sir Martin Sorrell.

Sorrell, the head honcho of WPP, was interviewed during Advertising Week about a number of issues. Out of the issues he mentioned, we want to explore this notion of redefining our wonderful world of advertising. Now, Sorrell did not take it as far as many others; in fact, his argument was probably the best articulated. Sorrell mentioned that advertising still has this sort of stigma; an aura that surrounds the art and creative directors that gives the impression that advertising's sole savior is creative genius.

With the rise of marketing analytics, that is no longer the case. Sorrell even mentioned that 75% of WPP's earnings come from things "Don Draper wouldn't even recognize."

So perhaps it is not a redefinition of advertising that needs to be done, but a rebranding campaign.

On that note, we couldn't agree more.

AdLand is one of those places people love to hate, yet the majority have no idea what is actually done. Many people would be quick to conclude that all advertisers want to do is separate your money from your bank accounts. People have a sour taste in their mouths — for many reasons — about the "glory" life of advertising.

If they really knew the life of the advertising professional, it is far from the luxurious life.

How does this rebranding campaign start? Can Advertising Week gather heads together and push some industry norms? If the perception of advertising must change, who leads the shift? 

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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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