Consumers Still Bombarded With Advertising, Ad Model Still Broken

Please, We've Seen It All

The average consumer can't go through a day without seeing 3,500 commercial messages. That's a hell of a lot of clutter for one individual to sift through but that's the reality of today's advertising marketplace. From guerrilla marketing to all forms of "street furniture" advertising to human sandwich boards, advertising is inescapable unless one were to move to the Moon. Even there, one could probably see the screaming lights of Times Square when Jenna Jameson yelled, "Visit my website! Buy my videos!"

With media fragmentation comes advertiser's use of that fragmentation in the increasingly difficult war waged to win the valuable consumer eyeball. This fragmentation has given way to more unique forms of advertising that fall into the guerrilla marketing space but even these efforts are getting tired. Once novel, tactics such as forehead advertising, invertising, advergaming, dogvertising, adverblogging, blogvertising, bloodvertising and bravertising are now old hat. Other methods such as school bus, in-school and police car advertising are considered only out of financial desperation. Layer on top of that more recent whacked social media efforts like PayPerPost and clearly, the model is hurting.

It is important for marketers to make sure their efforts do not become old hat. Easier said than done. Trouble is, it's like a flushing toilet with marketers trying desperately to invent their next move so they don't get sucked down the vortex of extinction. It almost makes one pine for the pre-cable, three network, Clear Channel-less radio, Look magazine days of old. OK, not really, but do we really want an advertiser offering to paint our house for free in exchange for allowing that paint job to include the advertiser's logo gracing the front of the house? Stranger things have happened.

It's a forgone conclusion someone has to pay for content. While many tools are in place today for people skip or block out ads, that won't work forever. If there are no advertiser dollars to support the creation of new content, there will be nothing for people to skip. People may pay for some content as they currently do with premium cable and iTunes downloads but there is a limit to how much one person will pay.

When there were just three networks, a few radio stations and a handful of print publications, the consumer was more accepting of the unspoken agreement with marketers: free content in exchange for watching ads. With the out-of-control proliferation of choice and invention of tools people can use to avoid ads, that model is and has been sorely tested.

Already, television networks are plastering promotional announcement and even ads over programming so as to avoid skippage by DVR-equipped people. In-text advertising from companies like Intellitext and Vibrant Media have muddied the waters between editorial's church and advertising's state. Paid editorial models from companies like PayPerPost have contributed to the erosion of trust between reader and writer. Faux blogs and unbranded viral videos have caused people to question the authenticity of marketer's motives.

How much, if anything, will people pay to obtain ad-free content? Will product placement and program sponsorship evolve enough to replace traditional commercials? Will search engine marketing cause the death of graphical advertising online? How will online publishers monetize their operations if banner s continue their downward spiral in terms of effectiveness? Will online ad blockers blow up in the face of those using them to consume ad-free content when the producer of that content has to shut down operations because there's no ad revenue to fund the creation of that content? Will mass customization ever reach a point where marketers can achieve zero percent waste and consumers can see only the ads that are 100 percent relevant to them?

Will there ever be an end to this battle between marketers and consumers? Will the ad model ever be fixed or is it destined to forever experience a Saw-like, torture porn existence with no finality for the rest of time?


If we knew the answer to this, we wouldn't be writing about it. We'd be rich off the spoils of our visionary thinking and on a yacht in the Caribbean with a bevy of bodaciously bootylicious babes wearing nothing but thongs and tiny tops out of which their gigantic breasts would be bulging and undulating as they paraded about the yacht 24/7.

Alas, we can only fantasize.

by Steve Hall    Nov-27-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion, Trends and Culture   

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Nice! i think AdRants should do more long form editorial on the 'reality of the world today' as you do have influence (maybe more than you think) over ad agency and brand manager decision makers.

Posted by: Adam Salacuse on November 27, 2007 5:14 PM

Agreed. More posts like this are welcomed.

Posted by: mtgentry on November 27, 2007 6:10 PM

Strange that you posted this a day before our first press release. I think you may be able to digest what our site,, is all about.

Indeed, marketing is broken. Something's got to fix it, as it's the revenue that keep the internet working. Think a collaborative platform populated by internet user's demanding change from advertiser's is the key? I do.

Posted by: Bill Nones on November 27, 2007 8:43 PM

This new and free report addresses the issues re the "Attention Age". Some solutions too... Good reading and timely re your post.

Posted by: Peter on November 28, 2007 12:21 PM

This is why I love AdRants. Some solid, thoughtful pontification on the state of advertising. But that's not all. We also get collages of giant-racked bikini chicks. Like icing on the cake.

More please.

Posted by: pat smith on November 28, 2007 1:15 PM

You forgot VoiceVertising and ThoughtVertising :)

I'm crushed.

Good piece though.

Posted by: floyd Hayes on November 28, 2007 1:40 PM

To paraphrase Futurama, "Sure we had ads on TV, on the radio, and in magazines and films, and in football games, and on the bus, and on boxes of milk, and t-shirts, and bananas, and written in the sky. But not in dreams."

This is beginning to seem a lot more likely than it did seven years ago.

And, agreed, bikinis chicks add to any thoughtful commentary.

Posted by: MortarKevin on November 28, 2007 1:59 PM

Ugh, "bikini chicks". And I thought I was so clever, too.

Posted by: MortarKevin on November 28, 2007 2:03 PM