What's In It For Them?

Sometimes it seems advertisers and marketers need to remind themselves that advertising isn't for them.

Advertising is for the customer.

It is they who ultimately determine whether advertising is good or not – in that they vote with their purses or wallets.

Advertising people and marketers have become too self-obsessed, too inward-looking, too focused on their advertising playing well and feeling good in the boardroom or among their peers.

This often ends up with advertising that is egotistical and centred around what people in the company would like to say about themselves.

The priority should really be how the advertising fares out in the real world.

That means making advertising less self-centred and concentrating more on what the customer will get out of it.

Less this is how we’d like you to think of us.

And more this is what’s in it for you.

Our new book ‘How To Make Better Advertising and Advertising Better – The Manifesto for a New Creative Revolution’ is available exclusively at the Design Museum.


  1. I think we have lost our way as an industry. Just as--this is a digression--journalism has lost its way. We have this cockeyed notion--pseudo-science, really--that people are not moved by information.

    So, we trade in the vapid.

    How do you buy a car, a camera, a mattress, or a cell-phone?

    Samuel Johnson said that the soul of advertising is a promise.

    Carl Ally said our job is to impart useful consumer information in an executionally brilliant way.

    Today, we do neither.

    We make no credible promises and provide no useful information.

    I think we have--in our very modern way--gone back to treating consumers like they're morons.

    1. A lot of the time it feels like people do this simply because it's easier.

      It's much easier to spend days lovingly crafting a set of brand guidelines with poetic manifestos (manifesti? manifestodes?) than it is to find a worthwhile customer benefit.

      And much easier to wax lyrical about some piece doggerel masquerading as 'insight' than it is to have a good idea.

      And much much easier indeed to treat customers (or 'people' as I've sometimes heard them called) like they're idiots than the alternative. If they're idiots, one-size fits all. If they're not, you have to put some gosh darned effort in.

      Screw that, right?

  2. Exactly George... thanks for stopping by.


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