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[P]
Are you considering a career in Advertising?

By salimfadhley in Media
Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 03:14:36 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Are you considering a career in Advertising, or perhaps you have just been offered your first Agency job? Perhaps you have been in advertising for a few months and are starting to grow jaded with this industry. Who ever you are, I would like to present this negative impression of life in the Ad business. My life working for an ad-agency was not all bad - in fact there were some quite amusing moments. However as a choice of career, I would not recommend this sector.


"By the way... if anybody here is in marketing or advertising, kill yourself. Thank you, just planting seeds, that's all I am doing. No joke here, kill yourself. There is no rationalization for what you do, you are Satan's little helpers, kill yourself, kill yourself kill yourself now." - Bill Hicks (Arizona Bay)

My life working for an ad-agency was not all bad - in fact there were some amusing moments. However as a choice of career, I would not recommend this sector.

1. It's a dying industry.

In most English speaking countries the number of people working in the ad-industry has continually declined. Share prices of all the major advertising groups have fallen by more than 1/2 since the late '90s. This industry has been shrinking rapidly and consolidating for the last four years.

Occasionally marketers dream up new fads that will allegedly rescue the advertising industry; Direct Marketing, Interactive marketing, Viral Marketing have all been toted as the big issue that will revive the sector. To date, none of these have halted or even slowed down this industry's rate of decline.

Things have changed substantially since glory days of the 1980s when ad-men could afford cocaine and champagne parties. Once an industry that attracted the highest calibre of graduates, these days the best young people are far more likely to want a career in banking, IT or engineering. There is nothing glamorous about this industry: Wages are low, hours are long and opportunities are fewer and further between.

2. Your agency is first supplier to get canned in a recession.

Well perhaps not if your client has also appointed a Feng Shui consultant or a cordon bleu chef. Shortly after those guys get the sack your client's advertising budget will be slashed and your Agency's contract will be ended.

Like the infamous "Death of a Thousand Cuts", a failing agency will lose its clients one at a time. With each lost contract the agency will have to make another round of redundancies until it becomes the victim of a hostile takeover bid.

3. The skills you will learn are not transferable.

Once you begin your agency job you will become indoctrinated in your agency's proprietary marketing methodology. This mystical technique promises to make those who fully understand it into the marketing equivalent of an OT III Scientologist. Being able to quote from and practice this methodology will mark you as an agency insider.

This new knowledge is nothing more than your agency's sales spiel. It has no value outside the agency since each agency has its own version, and however profound this knowledge purports to be; it will rarely amount to any more than stating the obvious.

Clients will not value your 'proprietary methodology' because they will be instantly able to detect that you are just quoting from the company bible.

While your agency life teaches you mainly soft or non-transferable skills, other sectors provide their employees with hard skills... even qualifications. Former employees of agencies who find themselves made redundant are often faced with the problem that the skills they posses have no relevance in the real world. Furthermore they have been left behind their peers whose careers have progressed more conventionally.

4. Your clients don't appreciate what you do.

Even worse, they probably resent you for things that are not your fault: While you draw your miserable agency wage, your company may be charging you out for more than 5 times what you earn. However well you might think you get on with your client; they think of you as a kind of vampire or at best, a leech. No matter how hard you work, or how much value you add; you are expensive and they would love to get rid of you.

The fact that you are also being exploited will matter very little to your clients as your agency bleeds them dry for another ill-conceived project that will most likely do no good at all!

5. Much of what you do can be done better by machines.

Ever heard of 'CRM'? The whole idea of it is to replace tedious costly manual marketing processes with more efficient automated systems. This transfers the task of marketing from a traditional marketing department into the hands of your client's IT department.

Whilst your agency may enjoy a cordial relationship with your client's marketing team, you can be certain that your client's IT department do not like you and think that everything you do is wrong and stupid. When the marketing department's funds get transferred to IT so that they can launch their a CRM initiative, your agency will be canned.

As a final humiliation your company may be invited to re-pitch for this CRM contract only to be disqualified at the first stage for failing to answer the brief. The contract will go to an established IT firm. Oh dear... there goes another client.

6. You will never get the credit for your good work.

Once in a blue moon, an advertising contract goes spectacularly well - you will be surprised when it happens. If you stick in the industry long enough, the chances are you will have at least one success story. Don't think that successfully leading a project that achieves something unique and remarkable now qualifies you for the advertising big league. You are only a small player in a giant multinational machine - the reward for your efforts goes to your manager and your client.

Don't be surprised to see your boss taking all the credit for your big idea on the front page of your industry's trade mag. You will swallow your pride when the client who failed to understand the campaign for an entire year now claims to have thought up the entire concept. In this business success or failure amount to the same thing.

Quite soon everybody in the entire company (including people who were not even in the company at the time) will have claimed some kind of involvement with your project. Your reward for your contribution to this project will be to be re-assigned to a problem client and made redundant when that client is eventually lost.

7. Your industry is amoral

Bill Hicks said that Ad-Folk are "Satan's Little Helpers" ... the people who would quite happily "sell anthrax as a child sedative".

The company I worked for derived a great deal of its profit from marketing cigarettes. As the law on how cigarettes could be advertised grew increasingly restrictive - agencies would spend a great deal of time developing concepts that would increase the consumption of cigarettes by working around the laws.

Cigarettes deliver no known benefit to their users. They are the only product that if consumed for long enough will almost certainly kill their users. Despite these glaring flaws in the product, the agency marketed them in Europe, America and especially 3rd world countries where well designed ads could take advantage of smoker na´vetÚ.

You are probably thinking, that not every agency advertises unethical products such as cigarettes - thats true, but every agency is guilty of a far greater crime - creating the illusion that consumerism can solve our problems.

Whether an agency tries to advertise a cigarette or a pair of sneakers the goal is to tell a lie: This cigarette will make you look cool, these shoes will get you laid. When the product ultimately fails to deliver on the hype we consumers have become so unused to thinking critically that our only salvation is yet more consumerism.

8. Advertising pollutes our environment.

As audiences become fragmented, traditional advertising becomes less effective. In order to stay in business, advertisers need to compensate for this by finding ways to 'cut-through'. This means that advertisers seek more intrusive methods to grab your limited attention.

In the future every kind of entertainment will be interrupted by a commercial breaks. Every landmark will be polluted with ad-hoardings. An agency wants to turn every moment of your 'life-style' into a 'branded experience'.

9. What your company does is worthless.

If your company spontaneously ceased to exist, there is not a single member of the public who would notice its absence. Nobody depends on what you do, not even your clients.

The vast majority of what you produce will be instantly forgotten - the only thing that you can guarantee is that you are lowering the signal-to-noise ratio of life - filling the environment with yet more useless lies.

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Are you considering a career in Advertising? | 85 comments (76 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
Synopsis (3.00 / 2) (#1)
by rdskutter on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 12:11:54 PM EST

Advertisers, please do the world a favour. You are all scum, go kill yourselves now.


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

Are you considering a career in IT? (4.50 / 2) (#3)
by dr zeus on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 12:17:26 PM EST

Wow... just replace Advertising with IT, and you can say alot of the same things.



Nah (4.50 / 2) (#4)
by rdskutter on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 12:20:54 PM EST

IT has the potential to make the world a better place.


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.[ Parent ]

heh (5.00 / 2) (#7)
by Nike on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 12:31:43 PM EST

That's like saying "Janitors have the potential to make the world a better place." Are you sure you meant IT (Information Technology)?

[ Parent ]
Yeah (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by carbon on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 03:07:30 PM EST

Of course, they're very similar. Janitors have the potential to make the world a better place by preventing as many bathrooms as possible from looking like those in gas stations. IT workers have the potential to make the world a better place by preventing as many projects as possible from looking and working like DOS.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Thats exactly what I meant (4.00 / 1) (#45)
by rdskutter on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 06:57:55 AM EST

What other meanings are there?

Some noun <has the potential to do> some verb phrase.

I know that the English language can be ambiguous at times, but this isn't one of those times.


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.[ Parent ]

Janitors make the world a better place. (none / 0) (#65)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 07:16:49 PM EST

Sanitation is one of the more important aspects of civilization. Don't be an asshat.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Actually I moved from advertising to IT (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by salimfadhley on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 02:37:18 PM EST

I find IT is a much easier profession in which to make a 'good' living.

People value IT work a lot more than marketing work. Very few of the points in my article apply to what i do now.

The only problem with IT is how few people understand it, so there is always a danger of being taken for granted.


[ Parent ]

This is a cancel-and-resubmit (4.75 / 4) (#6)
by Rogerborg on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 12:30:02 PM EST

No beef, it's just polite to to link to the original comments under those circumstances.

Mind you, in this case, it would also be polite to link to the original posting of the article on everything2.com.

Thinking about it; why wasn't this an MLP?

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

My K5 Wrongs (none / 0) (#14)
by salimfadhley on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 02:23:32 PM EST

Yes true on both accounts.

This story was originally written for E2. I thaught I would see how well it does with a diferent audience.

I'm sorry about the original comments - I cancled the story by mostake... Whats an MLP anyway?

Sal


[ Parent ]

MLP (none / 0) (#58)
by norge on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 01:49:02 PM EST

I figured this out for myself just now.  Look to the far right on the bar near the top of K5 pages.

Benjamin


[ Parent ]

Bill Hicks says: (4.00 / 3) (#9)
by PhillipW on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 12:59:12 PM EST

"If anyone here is in Marketing or Advertising...KILL Yourself"

Yay Bill Hicks!

-Phil
You're a god and you don't even know it (4.80 / 10) (#11)
by Sloppy on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 01:38:51 PM EST

You seem to not value the skill:
Once you begin your agency job you will become indoctrinated in your agency's proprietary marketing methodology.
[snip]
This new knowledge is nothing more than your agency's sales spiel. It has no value outside the agency..
And yet:
Cigarettes deliver no known benefit to their users. They are the only product that if consumed for long enough will almost certainly kill their users. Despite these glaring flaws in the product, the agency marketed them in Europe, America and especially 3rd world countries where well designed ads could take advantage of smoker na´vetÚ.
I must be misunderstanding something, because I see a contradiction there. You have done something amazing, you have mastered an art where I am completely incompetent, and you see your skill as nothing. Here I am, diddling with digital computers that were designed to serve me, and you're manipulating hostile analog computers that know you are manipulating them, and it works anyway.

You can engineer mass human behavior! To me, that is some kind of (un)holy grail. Yes, it's evil, but I respect evil that can get things done. The fact that cigarette advertising works, makes me feel like maybe, just maybe, Santa Claus is real.

And you think this skill is not transferable?! People like you, can make or break kings.
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."

I cannot deny that marketing works but... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by salimfadhley on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 02:29:28 PM EST

You are missing the point. Adverts work, marketing works but I still wouldnt want to work for an Ad agency.

CocaCola might be a great drink, but would you want to work in a coken factory?

Sal

[ Parent ]

Nope (5.00 / 2) (#22)
by sien on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 03:24:46 PM EST

No.

There are well known methods for getting people gradually convinced that things are appealing. Put attractive women near them, have witty ads, convince people they are cool by showing attractive well dressed people using them.

However, talk to marketing people and each firm claims to have some extra special mystic formula that will make you buy product X.

Marketing can be summed up as people like tits, funny things, feeling good about themselves, shiny things and belonging to a group. Beyond that it is mostly bollocks.

[ Parent ]

Yah but... (none / 0) (#36)
by komugi on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 12:16:15 AM EST

You have to admit it isn't easy to come up with good looking tits, funny things, cool shiny things, a social group feeling and such.

But if you CAN consistently come up with those things or some combination that work, you should be raking in the money...

Anyways, I don't think it's as easy as you seem to imply. Look at the # of failed tits and ass tv shows if you don't believe me.

[ Parent ]

OK (none / 0) (#56)
by sien on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 01:09:47 PM EST

Sure. It isn't that easy. Riding the wave of fasion is not that easy. And the superb production value in a lot of US advertising obviously takes a lot of work.

But as for the theory behind it it is a lot of nonsense.

[ Parent ]

A Couple of Questions (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by Rand Race on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 01:53:12 PM EST

What did you do for the ad agency? Some places it seems you are talking about marketing and in others IT and in yet others art direction. What of designers whose skills most certainly are transferable and whose jobs can not be replaced with computers? Copywriters? Account managers? Sales reps? DBAs?

And how can you claim at the beginning that advertising is dying yet claim at the end that ads will soon be ubiquitous? One or the other.

Overall this piece has some good points, but it is disjointed, unclear, contradictory and a bit simplistic regarding the trade. Sounds to me like the bitching of an intern who didn't get picked up.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson

What did I do for an agency? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by salimfadhley on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 02:27:29 PM EST

I worked as a creative / consultant for an Interactive agency in London. I did it for three years untill I could do it no longer.

I was not proclaiming the death of advertising - all  I was trying to do is advise against a choice of career in the Ad-Agency business.

Adverts have a bright but hideous future. The ad-agency might not.


[ Parent ]

No Print? No Video? (none / 0) (#55)
by Rand Race on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 12:19:18 PM EST

Ah. Your arguments hold together much better for an interactive agency. Our interactive division is basically just a data provider these days.

I do IT for a print agency and an interactive agency both of whose major client is one of the biggest US retail department stores. My SO does PR for one of the world's major insurance corps. I've done either design work or IT work for ad agencies for the better part of 15 years. I like it. Advertising tends to be socially laid back, liberal in its policies, and full of interesting people (most of whom tend to be female). I won't say, however, that I haven't seen the industry drive people to the very brink of insanity. But I've seen that in other industries as well.

Jojo and I were talking about this issue last night and it struck us that advertising does give one many career opportunities. Unfortunately they get less and less moral. She's already made the move from advertising to corporate relations. Other avenues include politics and journalism. Yike!


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Advertising and just price (4.60 / 5) (#21)
by IHCOYC on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 03:20:38 PM EST

Hate to toot my own horn, but I've said it here before. "Nothing that you have to be sold on is worth buying. The satisfactions such goods offer are the apples of Sodom, seeming red and ripe on the tree, that crumble to dust when plucked."

The difference in price between the generic brand of soda and Coca-Cola™ is measure of the amount of nothing the buyer of Coke has bought. He has paid for the privilege of symbolically communing with Britney Spears, or the rappers whose names I never knew, hired by the major soft drink companies to vest their product with a vague aura of young and kewl. Is this worth your penny? Is an economy based on the sale of something so insubstantial really worth the trouble of putting up with the noise it makes?

In a rightly guided world, no colour would be allowed on the package of any product. The size and font of the packages and of any labelling would be uniform and strictly governed by law. The only legitimate function of advertising is to inform people that a product exists and that it can be had for sale. These rules will allow that function to be carried out without attempting to sell empty cachet.
 --
The color is black, the material is leather, the seduction is beauty, the justification is honesty, the aim is ecstasy, the fantasy is death.

"Just price" decided by whom? (5.00 / 2) (#25)
by Control Group on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 04:13:48 PM EST

Why do you presume that your concept of a "just price" for something is necessarily the right one? Why do you get to determine what any given product is worth to me? More importantly, why do you get to decide what is of value to me?

If someone is willing to pay an extra two dollars for a case of Coca-Cola as opposed to Sam's Choice Cola, what makes that wrong? Clearly, to that person, the benefit of the name brand is worth the extra money. To me, that's a just price. It's easily demonstrated that aggressive marketing can't overcome a lack of perceived value - I seem to recall quite a lot of ads for Crystal Pepsi and Surge, but where are they now?

Not to mention that you dismiss out of hand the idea that cachet might be worth buying. I don't think most people who buy Gap clothes really believe the clothes are superior to any number of off-brand competitors. They know perfectly well they're buying a logo, and that's what they want to be buying. They're buying into a group, into a culture, into the cachet of wearing clothes from the Gap. The fact that you don't consider cachet worth money doesn't mean that it's not worth money.

There's also an issue regarding what constitutes a difference between products. While I don't care if I eat Cheerios, Oatie Os, or Tastee Os, I do care if I drink Coke or Sam's Choice Cola - there is a distinct flavor difference between the two, which is easily perceivable to me. On the other hand, Mountain Dew, Mello Yello, and Mountain Thunder all taste essentially identical to me. Don't assume that, just because you can't taste a difference, no one can.

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

Gap and logos. (none / 0) (#35)
by vectro on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 10:03:49 PM EST

While it's true that the gap does sell logo merchandise, by far the majority of their merchandise is logoless. This is (or ought to be) unsurprising given the political environment in which they operate.

Labels such as Tommy Hilfiger or Calven Klein are substantially more likely to have logos printed everywhere and anywhere. These brands are also more expensive, and are probably a better example of purchasing something for the cool-factor.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

That's what I get (none / 0) (#49)
by Control Group on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 09:51:27 AM EST

For not shopping the Gap, I suppose...a display of my ignorance. Ah, well.

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]
What makes it wrong? (2.00 / 1) (#61)
by IHCOYC on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 03:30:46 PM EST

Why do you presume that your concept of a "just price" for something is necessarily the right one? Why do you get to determine what any given product is worth to me? More importantly, why do you get to decide what is of value to me?
I don't presume to decide what just price is. God does that. I am simply His humble mouthpiece.
If someone is willing to pay an extra two dollars for a case of Coca-Cola as opposed to Sam's Choice Cola, what makes that wrong?
One of the things that makes it wrong is that the process of persuading people to pay extra for Coca-Cola makes noise of all kinds. You have to have billboards, noisy TV and radio spots, and otherwise to seek to distract your neighbours, to divert their attention from their private meditations to your rubber-lipped recitation of the alleged virtues of Coca-Cola. It strikes me that the pillory is the perfect place for people who would abuse their fellow citizens in this fashion.

Not only this, but you have to shout above the blare of dozens of other shills all seeking to persuade you to spend money elsewhere. This is not a recipe for a virtuous, quiet, and thoughtful society. It's no wonder we have USA Today prose, and people don't have enough attention span to think in complete sentences anymore.
 --
The color is black, the material is leather, the seduction is beauty, the justification is honesty, the aim is ecstasy, the fantasy is death.[ Parent ]

There's a name for that. (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by Il Maestro on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 06:09:30 PM EST

In a rightly guided world, no colour would be allowed on the package of any product. The size and font of the packages and of any labelling would be uniform and strictly governed by law. The only legitimate function of advertising is to inform people that a product exists and that it can be had for sale. These rules will allow that function to be carried out without attempting to sell empty cachet.
There's a name for that: communism. Well, not exactly, since the communists did a lot of other stuff as well, but what you're describing is a very communist idea. It doesn't work, because it's cheaper to make a good-looking package and a crappy product than it is to make a good product and use simple packaging. And capitalists want to spend as little as they have to, to increase profit.

Of course we could just kill all the capitalists, but maybe we should rule that out to begin with. Maybe some "corrective" treatment in an "insane asylum" will be enough to turn them into good citizens?

[ Parent ]

How's that again? (5.00 / 1) (#34)
by IHCOYC on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 09:43:17 PM EST

It doesn't work, because it's cheaper to make a good-looking package and a crappy product than it is to make a good product and use simple packaging. And capitalists want to spend as little as they have to, to increase profit.
And this is a good situation why? You think you aren't getting your pocket picked?

Of course, nothing in my proposal says anything at all about private versus public ownership of the means of production, or anything associated with Communism either in ideology or practice. The free markets, private ownership, and the product motive would not be altered one whit by my packaging and promotion laws.

All that would be affected would be the endless attempts to distract you in order to divert your attention to the non-stop shilling. The focus of competition would be removed from promotion to the products themselves.
 --
The color is black, the material is leather, the seduction is beauty, the justification is honesty, the aim is ecstasy, the fantasy is death.[ Parent ]

Excellent Idea (5.00 / 3) (#38)
by SilentNeo on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 03:09:02 AM EST

Commercial speech is not free speech.  In effect, the labeling on a product and messages broadcast about it should be required to be as accurate as possible.  Color, images that are not actually the product (meaning food ads MUST be of the unmodified food, and a typical sample of it, not some perfectly made creation, for example) and other things are subtle lies.  Lying on packaging or in advertising harms society as a whole, the same way false corporate disclure statements do (just by a thousand cuts : instead of billions being lost in a corporate collapse, penny by penny is lost whenever a consumer spends money on advertising driven products.  Music, cereal, and cola are good examples of what happens)

As for the "spirit of competition" and "free markets" : capitalism is no magical idea that is morally always right or always best. (A side note : clearly communism is not the opposite, as attested by the powerful status its empire achieved for a time.  While modern thought is fast to belittle its shortcoming, <I>something</I> must have worked.)  In many other well known example it fails badly at providing certain types of goods and services because competition is either not efficient (monopolies) or competition unchecked leads to other things.  For instance, what if it were legal to say a corporation is making more money than it is?  Would not people pour money into the company, raising its perceived value and continuing the process?  Would not this system collapse on itself when people discovered that it was all a sham, and no return on investment was forthcoming?  How is lying though the use of more subtle techniques any different?

It isn't legal to say that can of coke/beer will cure cancer for you, will it?  So why is it legal to imply rather blatently that it might get you sex?  Its still false information, and should be removed from the system like more obvious falsehoods already are.

[ Parent ]

What's legal or not is contingent on your funding. (none / 0) (#72)
by IHCOYC on Sat Mar 22, 2003 at 11:30:21 AM EST

It isn't legal to say that can of coke/beer will cure cancer for you, will it?
It may or may not be legal with respect to cola drinks or beer. It does seem to be legal to claim that breakfast cereals prevent cancer, though. I hope that someone who ate the beastly muck religiously and still took ill sues their pants off, for I am weary, weary, weary, weary, weary, WEARY of hearing these kinds of claims made.

In the U.S. we eat no food anymore, only poison or medicine.
 --
The color is black, the material is leather, the seduction is beauty, the justification is honesty, the aim is ecstasy, the fantasy is death.[ Parent ]

The problem is... (none / 0) (#44)
by Il Maestro on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 06:10:02 AM EST

you are forgetting that in a free market, there can be no products, just promotion. People don't buy stuff, the stuff buys them.

If you take the pretty packaging away, that won't change the fact that stuff sucks. It will just generate despair: you will have killed the last god.

[ Parent ]

Communists had advertising too! (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by Viliam Bur on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 10:14:22 AM EST

But it was so naive that it made you laugh.

Seriously, seeing now the advertisings from before 15 years would make most of my country's people laugh very much. Part of it is because they are too old now, but partly they were funny also when they were new. I just hope someone keeps them saved and will put them on the web...

[ Parent ]

Plain packaging? (none / 0) (#79)
by laotic on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:37:12 PM EST

Sure, we had that in socialism (remember - socialism was supposed to lead to communism where you no longer would need money as you would be served according to your need), but beyond plain packaging, products were standardized.

As far as I can remember, salt was sold in white 1kg packages which said SALT in plain blue (and in our language of course). Wholesale and retail price was printed on the package so you could not cheat.

The idea to do away with unnecessary advertising and marketing costs was good, but as always - force something on people and they will reject it. But let them do what they want, and they eventually come to the same conclusion. What else would the `white brands' of large chain stores be?

There you have it - communist ideas at their best. Product quality is rather good (made by otherwise sound producers), packaging cheap, brand presence strong (you're in the shop which has the name stamped on the package). I agree that the value proposition deteriorates with time as the chain cares less about you hooking up and more about you coughing up. But the idea is there.

Prices printed on products (or at least in catalogs) are also catching on - if you know the way, you can buy a cheaper Sony Minidisc, but run anywhere and they tell you the same price.

Sig? Sigh.
[ Parent ]
Branding (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by squigly on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 08:45:40 AM EST

I don't drink coke that much, so I'll go for something I do know - I like Bassets Liquorice Allsorts.

The other day, I found that I didn't have enough money for a packet of the brand, so I bought a cheaper type.  They were really not very nice at all.  They tasted gritty and unpleasant.  The sugary parts were far too sweet, and the flavour left a lot to be desired.

So, in the future, I know to ge the brand that I like.  If they hadn't advertised them, I wouldn't even know of their existence.  The branding makes me know that I'm getting the item I want.  Sure, I know the name, but if it was something else, I might forget the name the next time I see it.  The packaging helps me remember.  That's the whole reason for it.

The other type uses a different form of sales pitch - low prices.  They have to cut costs somewhere, and they do this by not spending on advertising.  But they also cut costs by reducing quality.

[ Parent ]

I suspect you'd manage to adapt easily (none / 0) (#60)
by IHCOYC on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 03:14:30 PM EST

. . . to a world where the brand names were all in plain text on plain packaging. You could still remember the brand you liked and look for that one.

All it takes is literacy.
 --
The color is black, the material is leather, the seduction is beauty, the justification is honesty, the aim is ecstasy, the fantasy is death.[ Parent ]

Would I remember as easily (none / 0) (#62)
by squigly on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 03:54:48 PM EST

What's wrong with making it easier to remember?  I can remember a black package with a picture of a funny looking man on much more easily than I can remember the name Bassett.  Likewise, if I taste two different colas, it's a lot easier to remember that the one I liked was in a blue can, or a red can than whether it was Coca-cola or Pepsi-cola.  

Why have brand names at all?  Why not just give every producer a number?  I've got half a dozen telephone numbers stored in my brain, so it can't be too hard to remember that I prefer brand number 23532 over brand number 768.  The more clues we have, the easier it is to remember.  

Sure, the hard sell is annoying, especially when targetted at kids, who have yet to learn the level of cynicism required to resist, but easily recognisable brands does have a benefit.

[ Parent ]

Ok, you've convinced me (4.66 / 6) (#24)
by X3nocide on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 03:47:23 PM EST

Through written word you have changed my mind and made an impression about the ad industry; you've sold me on it. Quite the clever marketer you are, scaring away the compitition for your own benefit!

pwnguin.net
uncharacteristic of me perhaps (4.50 / 4) (#27)
by calimehtar on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 04:45:25 PM EST

I never thought I'd find myself arguing for advertising and marketing. I don't have a tv and don't listen to the radio partly because I find ads really annoying. Sitting through 20 minutes of ads and trailers before a movie makes me want to slit my wrists, boycott hollywood and do any number of unspeakable things to the people responsible.

But really, it's not all bad. If you run your own business, especially if it's on the internet, you depend on marketing of some sort to attract business. Without a storefront there is no way people are going to hear about you.

Any given company regardless of what sector they are in, is competing against other companies who are advertising. Intel, for example, used marketing and branding to raise awareness in a sector that had been previously seen as so bland and technical that the general public could hardly be expected to show brand loyalty. So marketing is necessary, whether or not it's evil.

One of the most famous ad campaigns ever was for the original VW bug. The ads were simple and stylish with seemingly counter-productive slogans like "lemon", and "think small". Brazenly honest, simple, elegant and effective, this is campaign is certainly the exception and not the rule. But people pay money to watch the best TV ads in the world in the theatre. I have friends who watch the Superbowl for the ads.

Clearly, not everything is wrong with advertising.



I have a B.A. in advertising... (4.83 / 6) (#28)
by Tanya on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 04:58:43 PM EST

But I'm a hooker now (escort or call girl to be PC) the hours are better, the clients are nicer, and you get appreciated for your work. Pay ain't bad either! ;-)

Don't ask unless you *really* want to know.

Off topic (5.00 / 1) (#37)
by SilentNeo on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 02:45:32 AM EST

I suspect most kuro5hin readers want to read diaries or even articles about your work. If you really are engaged (no pun intended) in this business, we'd all love to hear about your experiences.

[ Parent ]
So you think I'm a troll... (5.00 / 2) (#39)
by Tanya on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 03:32:52 AM EST

Fair enough, check my website at TanyaKitten.com (Adult content, over 21 only). It's part 'business' and part blog.

As far as stories, I'm not going to go into that while I'm still actively working. But the first line in the first chapter of my book is going to be The cramp in my foot was bad enough to make me want to bite his cock off. Then I'd get into the juicy stuff.

Don't ask unless you *really* want to know.
[ Parent ]

Well (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by SilentNeo on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 06:01:33 AM EST

The reason I implied you might be a troll is this is your first comment and you've made no diary entries or story submissions.  The "off topic" label I made on my comment was because my question to you is off the original story topic.  

Why can't you tell stories, with suitable name and location changes and, if necessary, internet proxies?  

You must have firsthand knowledge of a...ahem, viewpoint....most of us men can never understand.

[ Parent ]

You asked for it.... (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by Tanya on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 01:45:04 PM EST

I started up a diary page, since I have no idea on where to start, I'm going to take my cues from the comments. Ask questions, find out if I really do catch fire in church, but this is your chance to see a working girl core dump her brain all over your screen. (Monitor wipes for sale 10 cents each ;-)

Disclaimer: I'm also running a text ad here.

Don't ask unless you *really* want to know.
[ Parent ]

I thought you were joking (nt) (none / 0) (#80)
by ultimai on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:22:52 PM EST



[ Parent ]
The future of ubiquitous ads (4.50 / 6) (#29)
by adh on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 05:09:54 PM EST

In the future every kind of entertainment will be interrupted by a commercial breaks.

Not only do I hope this doesn't happen, I think economic trends are such that it won't (caveat--this informed chiefly by my one semester of college macroeconomics):

As time goes on and technical and procedural advances are made, people become more "productive"--they are able to make more widgets per hour, or program higher quality code, etc. If the Invisible Hand is to be trusted, this implies that "real" salaries (measured in goods, not dollars, so we can ignore inflation) will increase; in other words, individuals will be making more money per hour because they are producing more and better stuff per hour.

If we assume that, during our average work week/day, we work until an hour of leisure is worth more to us than an hour of work--i.e. we're willing to sacrifice the extra wages of an hour of work to stop working for that hour and enjoy ourselves--then we can conclude that, as the real worth of our work hours increases, so does the real worth of our leisure hours, since we're willing to give up more for every hour of leisure time.

So what does this have to do with ads?

As effective as ads appear to be, everybody can agree that watching ads is undesirable. It's a waste of time to spend 20 minutes of every hour watching TV watching ads instead, or watching 20 minutes of ads before every matinee movie. As the worth of our leisure hours increases, what we're willing to spend to avoid the "loss" of a minute of leisure time will also increase. In the context of advertisements, this means that, as time goes on, we should be willing to spend more and more money on things like paid TV channels, commercial-free radio, theaters that do not show ads, web-sites that do not deliver pop-ups, etc. Assuming that the real cost of these premium services does not increase (which makes sense I think--the same advances which made our work more efficient should be making all products and services easier to "produce", making them cheaper), this means that we will be more likely to consume these premium, ad-free experiences.

For example, twenty years ago Mr. X made $20/hour. HBO--a premium TV channel which does not run ads during shows--cost $50/month. Mr. X watched 30 hours of TV per month, which, assuming that 1/3 of all hours spent watching conventional TV were "wasted" watching commercials, meant he would have been willing to spend ($20 x 30 hours x 1/3) $200 per month in order to get all his programming delivered commercial-free. Let's say, conveniently, that only 1/5 of his programming needs could be filled by HBO. Thus he would have been willing to spend ($200 x 1/5) $40 per month on HBO. At $50/month, HBO cost more than that, so he grit his teeth through the commercials.

Present day: Mr. X, empowered by "the computer" and other advances, is more productive, and makes $40/hour. For simplicity, let's say that he continues to watch 30 hours of TV a month, that HBO still costs $50 a month, etc. By way of the same calculations above, he is now willing to spend $80 per month on HBO. He does so, and makes an imaginary $30 profit in well-being per month.

As this trend continues, the effectiveness of advertising will decrease as fewer and fewer people are too poor to eliminate the nuisance of ads. Ads which people don't want to see will gradually disappear, although there will still be need for informational advertising (think a futuristic Consumer Reports-like experience) which people will find worthwhile in informing their purchasing decisions. The capitalist system will have overcome its greatest flaw: that it is more cost-effective to market something crappy than create something good.

The Value of Ads (none / 0) (#32)
by Overnight Delivery on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 07:20:24 PM EST

Your calculation needs to take into account the value of ads, if someone gets enjoyment out of an ad or is informed about a new product that will change their lives then the ad has value.

As has been pointed out many times, some people watch the superbowl solely for the ads.

[ Parent ]

"good" ads will still be consumed (none / 0) (#48)
by adh on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 09:08:36 AM EST

I wasn't totally explicit about this, but I'd predict, by way of the trend I described, that ads people don't want to see will disappear, while ads that people enjoy watching, whether because they are especially entertaining or especially informative, will still be available for consumption.

The overall mechanism is this: as people become more productive, they become wealthier, and they are willing to spend more money to make their lives more enjoyable; unenjoyable things, e.g. non-informative, non-entertaining ads, will tend to be experienced less, while good things, e.g. informative, entertaining (they'd have to be pretty darn entertaining, methinks) ads would tend to be experienced more.

A side effect of this I alluded to would be that the forum for experiencing ads would change. Specifically, ads would not be actively foisted on TV/movie viewers or radio listeners, but would be available somewhere convenient ("the internet" perhaps) for viewing/listening should the consumer decide he wanted to check them out.

[ Parent ]

I hope so (none / 0) (#51)
by maluke on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 10:01:08 AM EST

As time goes on and technical and procedural advances are made, people become more "productive"--they are able to make more widgets per hour, or program higher quality code, etc. If the Invisible Hand is to be trusted, this implies that "real" salaries (measured in goods, not dollars, so we can ignore inflation) will increase; in other words, individuals will be making more money per hour because they are producing more and better stuff per hour. I hope so, but rather more probable is that our income stays the same as 'the leaders' (bosses, authorities and other non-producing staff) get more.

[ Parent ]
At least in the US... (none / 0) (#83)
by vectro on Fri Mar 28, 2003 at 03:45:36 AM EST

... it appears to be the case that most of the productivity gains in the last decade or so have gone to the consumer, rather than the producer. There has been an increase in inequality, but people at every economic level are better off.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Economics will not solve it all (none / 0) (#84)
by brain in a jar on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:41:16 AM EST

Many of the adverts we are exposed to cannot be "bought off" regardless of how annoying we find them.  Poster adverts in public places are just one example.

Also, most people don't choose how much time off work they have, they have as much time off work as their employer decides to give them. In principle they could switch jobs, but that is only true if there are at least some employers that are prepared to give the amount of leave that they want or employ them for the hours they want.

In practice if we use subcription services to avoid one set of advertising, the advertisers will find other ways to push their product.
 

Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

work's a bitch (3.50 / 2) (#31)
by cjmc on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 06:09:44 PM EST

Most of what you write is applicable to any line of work. But to respond point-by-point:

1. "It's a dying industry" - death=change and it happens in every industry; it's a good thing. you can bet that good ad agency will adapt and those that do so effectively will continue to employ people.

2. "Your agency is first supplier to get canned in a recession" - who isn't saying this right about now? talk to someone who's trying to sell software....

3. "The skills you will learn are not transferable" - in a word, baloney. human beings learn in any setting. and if you're around a lot of jerks blowing hot-air all day you're leanring a lot about how not to behave and how to manage the endless procession of jerks you'll interact with for your whole life. (there must be some kind of relationship between how angry your job makes you and how much you learn...you just have to be mindful of that.)

4. "Your clients don't appreciate what you do" - if you're working to be appreciated you're barking up the wrong tree...it'll never happen.

5. "Much of what you do can be done better by machines (or, the CRM argument) - good CRM complements a good marketer, it doesn't replace her. Innovation is usually good even if it changes your job description - it frees you up to use your brain.

6. "You will never get the credit for your good work." - see 4.

7."Your industry is amoral" - arguable...if you think people are very easily influenced then you may bear some responsibility here. but most people see through the bullshit and pull the trigger on a product for other reasons (friends, etc.). and sometimes you're selling something that does have value and you're finding sleek, effective ways to communicate that value and educate people.

but, yeah, i guess this would be the worst part of the work at the end of the day...by and large, you're warping the economy by deceiving people into thinking there is value where there actually is none.

8. "Advertising pollutes our environment." - see adh's comment - he really hits the nail on the head. that guy gets a 5 in my book.

9. "What your company does is worthless" - See 7.

anyhow, thanks. this was interesting.

right (2.42 / 7) (#33)
by gdanjo on Thu Mar 20, 2003 at 07:39:04 PM EST

Cigarettes deliver no known benefit to their users.
Bollocks. Cigarettes act as a social lubricant, especially in poorer countries.

They are the only product that if consumed for long enough will almost certainly kill their users.
Bollocks. Over-consume anything and you'll die.

Despite these glaring flaws in the product, the agency marketed them in Europe, America and especially 3rd world countries where well designed ads could take advantage of smoker na´vetÚ.
What a sanctimonious comment. Get over yourself.

I'm starting to understand why ad-industry people are so arrogant. They beleive they are the proverbial pied piper with special-magic-happy powers, and everyone else is just a goddamn rat.

The truth is that it is us, the consumers, that are the ad-industry masters. Perhaps if the ad-industry people acquired a little humbleness, they wouldn't be in so much trouble.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT

if consumers are the "masters" (none / 0) (#50)
by adh on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 09:54:31 AM EST

...then why does advertising exist at all? I.e., if what consumers wanted to buy had nothing to do with what advertising they experienced, companies would realize this and stop wasting money on ads. The fact is, comnpanies spend enormous amounts of money on advertising, so it must have some effect.

[ Parent ]
I never said ... (none / 0) (#77)
by gdanjo on Sun Mar 23, 2003 at 06:39:49 PM EST

there is no effect. My point is that advertising can induce a craving in you, not create it.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

cigarettes (5.00 / 2) (#63)
by Ken Arromdee on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 05:08:42 PM EST

Bollocks. Over-consume anything and you'll die.

Lots of products will kill you if you overconsume. Cigarettes will kill you fi you use them as recommended.

[ Parent ]

Any drug ... (none / 0) (#76)
by gdanjo on Sun Mar 23, 2003 at 06:38:11 PM EST

will eventually kill you, even if you "use as recommended." The key is to "use as recommended" for a limmited time. Ever wonder why you need to go back to the doctor for certain drug repeats?

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

So do you want a CAREER in advertising? (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by salimfadhley on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 03:51:26 AM EST

This article is about why you shouldnt get a career in an Advertising agency... I am not arguing that advertising does not work.

Clearly advertising does work, otherwise why would companies spend so much money on it? We all know the impact that ads have on our lives.

Unfortunately the place where advetising is done is usually a type of company called an Advertising Agency. Having worked for a few, I was attempting to point out some of the negative points of working for this kind of company.

Defend advertising? (3.20 / 5) (#41)
by Space on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 04:21:33 AM EST

I can't believe anybody would defend the advertising industry but at least half of the posts for this article are doing exactly that! The comments this article has attracted has solidified my long held belief that most people who post on K5 are arrogant, intellectual, free market fundamentalist, IT professionals who have little understanding of reality outside dated conservative theoretical models of society. Im convinced that most of these posts are nothing more than intellectual egoism. Can you honestly say the world wouldn't be a better place without spam!
<recycle your pets>
Or, perhaps, realists (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by Control Group on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 10:54:19 AM EST

Come off it - everyone agrees that the world would be a better place without spam. Including myself, despite my earlier comment defending advertising and branding. Yes, if the world was just the way it is but minus all the ads I don't like, of course it would be better (remember, spam is only spam if you don't want it).

The difference between you and me is I recognize that no one has proposed a way to do this which doesn't cost more than it gains. So, yes, barring a suggestion which would improve things, I defend advertising.

Banning advertising is costly, since advertising fills a useful role. It's how I found out about thinkgeek.com, arstechnica.com, and everything2.com. It's how I discovered 3dfx and my force feedback joystick. It's how I started playing Half Life and Halo. It's why I saw The Matrix and Fight Club. It's why I watched Farscape and The Shield.

Your sanctimonious prattling is very ideologically grand, I'm sure, but bears little relevance to reality. Thanks for playing.

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

realist! (1.00 / 1) (#68)
by Space on Sat Mar 22, 2003 at 02:39:57 AM EST

Defend the status quo! It needs you to survive, or better yet don't bother it won't make a difference anyway!
<recycle your pets>
[ Parent ]
Idealist! (none / 0) (#75)
by Control Group on Sat Mar 22, 2003 at 11:45:31 PM EST

Attack the status quo! Down with the establishment! Fight the man! It'll be my back against the wall when the revolution comes!!

Propose a way to change things? Of course not! The revolution will take care of itself! FORWARD THE LIGHT BRIGADE!!

Truly, your fight against the status quo is awe-inspiring to me.

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

Yawn. (3.50 / 4) (#42)
by plenty on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 05:10:23 AM EST

I guess it continues to be pretty trendy to bash marketers in this post Naomi Klein, anti corporate environment.  And if none other than Bill Hicks is against it, then that must be cool, right?

Advertising is an easy target, because many people in modern Western cultures have an instinctively negative reaction against obvious attempts at persuading them to adopt a point of view.  Add to this the fact that much advertising is misleading or simply poorly executed, and it's not surprisingly that some folks who fancy themselves as intellectuals choose to look down on it.

To stick to the point (life in ad agencies) and not get into a long debate about the pros and cons of advertising itself (although I would be happy to do that if someone wishes to take me up on it), here are some random thoughts why it's worth considering a career in advertising:

- It's a creative business and attracts creative people.  I understand this may not be a priority for people whose idea of professional bliss is a marathon debugging session, but for many others, no other industry offers the same kind of scope for getting the old right-brain juices flowing.

- It's a people business.  If you thrive on interacting with others and participating in the exchange of ideas, advertising agencies have a lot to offer.

- You get to see your work proudly displayed on screen, in print, on the radio, online and outdoors.  99% of workers are cogs in a massive machine whose individual contributions are invisible in the grand scheme of things.  In advertising, the fruits of your labours are plain to see.  Hard to beat that for job satisfaction.

- You get to work with lots of different kinds of companies.  Advertising, like other forms of consultancy, offers its exponents wide exposure to different industries and businesses.  Every day is different.  (Which may not be important if you're happy to man a Unix helpdesk or sell insurance all your life.)

Certainly, the advertising business has plenty of downsides (limited job security, long hours, constant deadlines), but what profession doesn't?  It's a pretty long leap that you're asking readers to take: condemn an entire industry just because YOU couldn't make it.

Selling refrigerators to eskimos (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by lurch on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 08:28:02 AM EST

Most points in the article could more or less also be applied to any other industry.
Only the point about advertising being amoral and polluting our environement are worth mentioning.
Advertising being kind of a meta industry not producing anything in itself (which is not to say that its not needed in a globalised world with non-transparent markets) serves as a direct interface to the consumer, and most times with the need to distinguish themselves in the global hubbub it becomes more and more of an in-your-face interface(Pop-ups or spam anyone?).
Signal to noise ratio is dropping and a vicious cycle starts with more pollution ensuing in the constant battle for our attention.
Direct marketeers (euphemism for spammer) now consider 1:1000-5000 response rates good, leaving 999-4999 people with useless shit to download from their inbox.
Heavy taxation of all push advertising would seem the only options to break free of this cycle.
Advertising as means of getting people to buy stuff they could until now do without,
would still be possible, but just polluting everyones (even the 50% that have to make do without even a small one) attention to sell penis enlargements would simply become to expensive.

About the amoral part one just has to look at how most of the big media corporations are supporting the war.
Nothing like pictures of smart bombs blowing people to bits to increase your ad revenues.

Following differentiation between marketing(good) and selling(evil) shamelessly stolen from http://www.yementimes.com/00/iss32/b&e.htm (from a third world country and an islamic one at that, ironic isnt it?)
Decide for yourself which is prevalent in your country
In my language people trying to sell refrigerators to eskimos are called con-artists, but unfortunately this seems to be the highest goal in the advertising industry.

Marketing:

  1. Focuses on customer needs.
  2. Customer enjoys supreme importance.
  3. Emphasis is on product planning and development to match products with markets.
  4. Resorts to integrated approach to achieve long -term goals.
  5. Aims at converting customer's needs into want of product.
  6. Holds the principle of "caveat vendor" i.e. let the seller beware (alert).
  7. Stress profits through customers satisfaction.
  8. Customer oriented.
  9. After- sales- service concept.
  10. Selling refrigerator to an Eskimo is not appreciated.

Selling:
  1. Focuses on seller's needs
  2. Product enjoys supreme importance.
  3. Emphasis is on high pressure selling to sell goods already produced.
  4. Resorts to fragmented approach to achieve immediate gains.
  5. Aims at converting product into cash.
  6. Holds the principle of " caveat emptor" i.e. let the buyer beware.
  7. Stress profits through sales volume.
  8. Production oriented.
  9. Ends up with the transfer of ownership of goods/service to buyer.
  10. Selling refrigerator to an Eskimo is highly appreciated!


zero ad revenue from war (none / 0) (#53)
by proletariat on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 10:15:19 AM EST

About the amoral part one just has to look at how most of the big media corporations are supporting the war. Nothing like pictures of smart bombs blowing people to bits to increase your ad revenues.

The channel I was watching last night didn't have any ads - so they had zero revenue during that time (I think it was ABC).

[ Parent ]

War is actively bad for business (none / 0) (#81)
by rusty on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 03:44:02 AM EST

In fact, many advertisers are pulling their ads entirely from the big news channels, because they don't want to be seen as profiteering from war coverage, or they don't want to be associated with video feeds of stuff blowing up. The war will probably turn out to be a big loss for TV news, at least.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Cigarettes deliver no known benefit to their users (1.50 / 2) (#59)
by mveloso on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 02:19:32 PM EST

Au Contraire! Cigarettes deliver many benefits to their users. I'd posit that most cigarette smokers enjoy smoking, much more than they'd ever admin to a non-smoker.

Let's face it, 35% of America smokes - they're not doing it because it's bad for them, they're doing it because they like it.

It's no different than eating rare steaks, large amounts of dessert, etc...it's just smoking has a bum rap because of the chance of a lingering death. Unlike obesity, where the victim tends to keel over and die quickly, lung cancer (and emphysema, etc) victims live long, painful end-lives.

But it doesn't have to be that way! Apparently an aspirin a day reduces your lung cancer risk by 60%:

http://query.nytimes.com/search/abstract?res=F50D15FE3C5A0C728DDDAA0894DB404482
(unfortunately it costs $$).

Tobacco junkies (none / 0) (#78)
by Malenfant on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 01:38:05 PM EST

Let's face it, 35% of America smokes - they're not doing it because it's bad for them, they're doing it because they like it.

They do it because they're drug addicts. The harsh reality is habitual tobacco smokers are stupid junkies who are too weak to handle the withdrawal that comes with giving up the drug. They know it's a lousy high and is killing them, but they just can't stop.

[ Parent ]
too bitter (4.50 / 2) (#64)
by blisspix on Fri Mar 21, 2003 at 06:12:18 PM EST

My fiancee didn't last too long in an ad company, but he did continue in the field. He now writes curricula for advertising students at the post-secondary level. This allows him to infuse into the curricula all the things that he would have liked to see when he was working in the industry - ethics, responsibility, creativity, media theory, etc etc etc. So he feels like now he can help to influence the next generation.

If you are bitter about the industry, why not join an adbusters group. With your inside knowledge of how the industry works, you would be a great help to them. Or why not work with non-profit organisations, helping them with their ad and PR campaigns?

Lots of advertising is bad, my fiancee agrees, and the people that work in it are often worse. But if a group of people can get together and change the values, stand up and say, 'we can do some good' then it's not all wasted.

This is an excellent suggestion. (none / 0) (#67)
by gr3y on Sat Mar 22, 2003 at 01:16:02 AM EST

And a constructive way to combat the feeling that you've wasted three years of your life if an attempted (and maybe anticipated) career turns out to be less exciting or fulfilling than expected.

Something good may come of it.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

adbusters? (none / 0) (#82)
by nyoki on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:22:29 PM EST

adbusters makes me crazy. i used to think it would be the best, most effective way to affect change. however, years later, i think it's actually doing quite the opposite.

the ironic thing with adbusters is that their main thrust of creative content (IMO) reinforces the original advertiser and message - thus defeating the goal of elevating awareness and actually doing quite a bang up job of giving certain memes a further run for their money.

i feel the same way about advertising these days - that those in advertising should just go away - and i do it myself (from a marketing group inside a company). i block all forms of marketing on as many levels as i can in my own personal life. i remove all the visible logos that i can from products in my home. i don't read many magazines - and always wage war with the ad pages when i do. i don't watch tv or listen to "local" radio past NPR. i find that friends even have to point out a show poster on a public street for me to notice. it's a screening skill that i am glad to have, and i think is only going to get stronger as the messages pile up. having been on the side of shaping content, i read every claim with a 90% bullshit filter - about 10% of all marketing messages are usually true a significantly reliable amount of time.

i recently read a book about documentary film, and one of the filmmakers said that if something tragic ever happened in his life, he would never allow someone like himself inside his home. i feel that way about advertising/marketing. quite a double-edged sword to be paid doing something you avoid.



[ Parent ]
An excellent and refreshing submittal... (4.75 / 4) (#66)
by gr3y on Sat Mar 22, 2003 at 01:03:10 AM EST

The next generation will be immune to advertising.

Advertisers have managed to convince their clients that the price of more market share, even maintaining market share already attained, is ever more advertising.

It's on the floor of the supermarket where I shop, on billboards on the side of the road, on the shelves at the 7-11...

Advertisements would pop up on my computer if I allowed them to, and banner ads on the web are an unnecessary and noisome eyesore - they blink, flash, and you never win a prize if you punch the fucking monkey. You're simply redirected to a page-length advertisement, which is fraud in my opinion.

And I long ago relegated banner ads on the web to the bit bucket, because my computer would hang and the page would not render until some slow akamai server served the ad the page was requesting.

Spammers would not hesitate to send advertising, completely unsolicited, to my inbox, ruining completely the utility of email as a means of communication for me. I abandoned my hotmail account partly because it was receiving about two hundred garbage emails a week with the junk mail settings turned up as high as they would go and my "blocked senders" list full. I currently receive no spam, but I only use this address to correspond with trusted family and friends - I've even thought about refusing email from my own father because of the insane amount of forwards he sends me, and which I have requested he stop, and which he will not stop because it's too easy to push a button.

The average hour of television has more minutes of advertising now than it did in 1990, when it had more minutes that it did in 1980, etc.- the average episode of "Seinfeld" lasted about seventeen minutes, and it's even shorter in syndication.

Yet advertisers have managed to pull the wool over everyone's eyes. They have managed to convince the public, and their clients, that this is necessary, even desirable, because it keeps the price of goods and services low.

Ridiculous. All it has done is make me immune to advertising. With every surface covered by advertising, I don't notice any of it - it's just visual noise. I've already developed cultural filters, blindspots, which advertising does not penetrate.

I do not believe I am alone. This will lead to an ever-decreasing spiral of failed advertising, ultimately returning the media in general to a state of sanity. By demanding too much attention, they will capture none.

And good riddance to them, I say. Most advertising is lies and misdirection, in my opinion.

For the record, allow me to tell you what advertising I accept: radio (but I only listen to NPR, which I fund annually), text ads on the web (K5 and google), banner ads served by the domain I contact, and "coming attractions" features on the television channels I watch - everything else gets muted.

I accept no spam. I accept no advertising images not served by the originating server. I accept no advertising that is served by a caching server by a third party. Period.

My post only addresses your first point, but I agree completely: [Advertising is] a dying industry, and good riddance. In my opinion, the industry is killing itself, and is its own worst enemy.

I am a disruptive technology.

And the best advert is one you didnt even list.. (none / 0) (#74)
by The Amazing Idiot on Sat Mar 22, 2003 at 10:19:54 PM EST

That advert is simply word of mouth. Ads can positive, or even negative.

If somebody said, "Burt's over there'll screw ya for all you're worth", would you go to them? Maybe once, but you'll expect something bad. If instead you heard a friend tell you "John's the most respectable  guy I know", would you try John's business? You'd give it a chance.

TV ads lie about their product. So do radio ads, so do newspaper and magazine ads, and every other ad. They all lie. What stays the same is mouth to mouth advertising. It's not invasive, or usually untruthful.

That's the kind of advertising I give and receive, and put trust in.

[ Parent ]

No transferrable skills? (3.00 / 1) (#69)
by Karellen on Sat Mar 22, 2003 at 06:23:12 AM EST

To be a successful advertiser, surely you learn a whole bunch of stuff like psychology, group psychology, sociology, imagery, art, mythology, history of literature & media, game theory, political theory, advertising law (what you're not allowed to do), etc...

You've got a whole bunch of skills and knowledges there that have got to be useful in a whole bunch of fields.

The psych/sociology skills have got to be useful for management positions anywhere.

Imagery and art could be used for a whole bunch of stuff, including things like computer UI design.

Mythology/lit probably not that useful, but could be used for teaching if you really needed work.

Game & political theory & law can't be completely useless either, surely.

Or am I completely off base with the kind of stuff that people in advertising need to know?


Foreign policy by focus group (5.00 / 2) (#70)
by Skwirl on Sat Mar 22, 2003 at 07:15:28 AM EST

The PR agency Hill & Knowlton was hired by the Kuwaiti government to spread pro-war propaganda supporting the first Gulf War. They found that the sentiment that Saddam is a dictator that abuses his people tested well with American audiences. They staged the testimony of a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl who claimed to witness Iraqi soldiers removing babies from incubators.
Three months passed between Nayirah's testimony and the start of the war. During those months, the story of babies torn from their incubators was repeated over and over again. President Bush told the story. It was recited as fact in Congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows, and at the UN Security Council. "Of all the accusations made against the dictator," MacArthur observed, "none had more impact on American public opinion than the one about Iraqi soldiers removing 312 babies from their incubators and leaving them to die on the cold hospital floors of Kuwait City."

At the Human Rights Caucus, however, Hill & Knowlton and Congressman Lantos had failed to reveal that Nayirah was a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family. Her father, in fact, was Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait's Ambassador to the US, who sat listening in the hearing room during her testimony. The Caucus also failed to reveal that H&K vice-president Lauri Fitz-Pegado had coached Nayirah in what even the Kuwaitis' own investigators later confirmed was false testimony.



--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
And your point is? (none / 0) (#71)
by plenty on Sat Mar 22, 2003 at 07:57:59 AM EST

That propaganda is an important element of war?  That the mass media is easily manipulated?  That people tend to believe what they see and read in the press?  That companies will sometimes resort to underhand tactics to achieve their goals?

Why, thanks for sharing these insights.  But what exactly does this have to do with the title of your post, let alone the advertising industry?

[ Parent ]

All of the above (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by Skwirl on Sat Mar 22, 2003 at 07:24:14 PM EST

The reason why the corruption of the PR/advertising industry is more poignant than any other industry is because their job is to integrate their ideals and their client's ideals into our society. Their corruption is our corruption.

It bothers me immensely that a rich, foreign non-democratic monachy has had an immeasurable effect on the last decade of American foreign policy by manipulating the emotions of the populace. HBO is currently airing a fictional movie about the supposed Kuwaiti baby murders.

The number one pro-war sentiment that is being parroted is that we must free the Iraqi people from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. This sentiment has no foundation in consistent logic: There are worse dictators than Saddam Hussein in the world, and we support and have supported many of them. We were allies with Saddam while he was gassing Kurds. Where was the outrage against Saddam's torturous regime then?

The spread of "freedom" against a populace's will is not a moral cause for war. Napoleon conquered and terrorized most of the world using that exact same strain of propaganda. The fact that the latest iteration of the propaganda was invented for traitorous PR greed and not for any brand of idealism makes it even more chilling.

The title was a play on Bush's statement that listening to protest is like foreign policy by focus group. Listening to the pro-war sentiment is literally foreign policy by focus group, since that's where their ideals were developed.

--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]

Trust me on this: (none / 0) (#85)
by frijolito on Wed Jun 18, 2003 at 07:13:51 PM EST

You're never going to be happy until you start your own business. As long as you work for someone else, you'll always be bitching about "the man"... funny thing is, once you start your own business, then you're "the man" to someone else.

Are you considering a career in Advertising? | 85 comments (76 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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