Monday, October 24, 2011

Advertising is Dead

I'm sure it's been said before, but it really is true. Oh, to be sure, the whole advertising industry in its current form isn't going to just lay down and die any time soon, but it will happen.

I increasingly find myself resenting a great deal of advertising these days, particularly commercials. So rarely are they related to anything I am interested in or would even remotely want to purchase, and I feel as if they are wasting my time when there is so much other culture I would like to be consuming.

When we think about the basic reasons why we have advertising, why it ever evolved, you can start to see why it makes less and less sense in our modern world. Advertising came into being simply to differentiate your product to sell it - either by highlighting qualitative differences, or if there weren't any significant ones, then by making your product conceptually different. From the latter branding was born, and we all went merrily along developing a culture whereby a great deal of our conceptual and abstract life was related through our consumption, we learnt to express our identity through our purchases. Then the information revolution happened, and suddenly we have at our fingers vast quantities of data with which to make those decisions about how we will construct ourselves through our consumption.

So in fact, I don't need a company to yell at me any more that they are good, or cool or what have you. If they have a product I think I want, I will find out for myself it's relative quality and coolness, in my own terms on my own time - I have no shortage of information with which to do that either. Advertising, the advertising that is dying, is push advertising that interrupts the narrative I'm watching to tell me I supposedly want cheese or soft drink (or worse yet, that I should think cheese or soft drink is cool). The advertising of the future is the sort that will sit and wait in numerous, easily accessible channels ready for me to find it when I want to know more, and I don't think that advertising, if it could even be called that, will look much like the brash, obnoxious ads we have today.

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