John Hegarty discusses how agencies must change their ways over at the Media Guardian (free reg req). His article this week discusses the role of advertising in the marketing of junk foods and issue of obesity which the UK government has recently jumped on. He claims that it's wrong to blame the advertising - instead it should be placed with the manufacturers. I think it should also be placed on consumers as well- since no one is forcing them to purchase or eat foods that are bad for them in mass quantities.
We shouldn't be surprised that our industry will be in the front line when blame is being apportioned. Throughout history, the messenger has always paid a high price. But in this case, can the messenger also bear some of the guilt? Possibly, so much advertising is so boring, unrewarding, unwelcomed and clichéd, it so easily becomes the scapegoat. We always have to bear in mind that nobody asks us to interrupt them. We impose ourselves on people. This carries with it a responsibility. A responsibility to communicate in a way that not only enhances our message, but also the consumer's experience. Just as companies have to now look beyond the coredelivery of their product to see how it impacts on a broader, more social scale.
We have to see our communication as part of a bigger picture. We constantly talk about advertising moving from the era of interruption to one of engagement, but it seems to me that very few marketers take that thought on board. Instead, there are knowing nods when it's voiced and then actions that go in the opposite direction.
His points are right on. And I can't understand why marketers do not get this. It seems logical to me. Turning away from this concept is going to be detrimental to brands that do no follow. Especially with products like TiVo and consumers being more savvy about messages they tune into and which ones they block out- it is imparitive that we bring engaging and relevant messages to the public- rather than just boring, cliche crap that no one connects with except maybe the CEO.