Is Advertising Dead? No, Only Bad Advertising

don-draper-shrug“Traditional media, linear TV, [and] newspapers in their old form are more effective from an engagement point of view.”

What’s new in advertising today? According to the panel of industry experts at the recent Cannes Lions ad festival, everything…and nothing at all.

“All advertising isn’t dead. Just bad advertising,” notes Steven Perlberg, writing about the festival in The Wall Street Journal.

“We are here celebrating 0.5% of the work that actually gets made. The other 99.5% of the work is generally crap. And when that happens, consumers don’t want to see it,” said Brad Jakeman, President of PepsiCo’s Global Beverage Group.

As Perlberg notes, this year’s festival comes at a critical time for the advertising industry.

“More consumers are using tools that block web ads. Marketers are worried about the transparency of how their dollars are spent by ad agencies. And new media pioneers are producing content on behalf of brands, encroaching on the turf of traditional agencies,” he writes.

So how can brands earn consumers’ attention in this new landscape? For Jakeman, it’s not by churning out mountains of work that reduces quality and creates fodder for the “digital landfill.”

It’s about, as always, relevance. And in an increasingly choosy world, that relevance must be immediate, apparent and worthwhile. WWP’s CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, a hugely influential man in the ad game and outspoken fan of print, insists that real engagement isn’t going to be found in a three-second video view on Facebook.

“Traditional media, linear TV, [and] newspapers in their old form are more effective from an engagement point of view,” Sorrell told the audience, even though 75% of the ads his company produces “is stuff that Don Draper wouldn’t recognize.”

Sorrell has publicly talked about this before, noting that the tide is turning back to print, a medium that he says “deserves more credit.”

What’s really interesting to note are the comments this article received. Clearly, the consumers are telling brands that they are by and large exhausted and fed up with the mountain of intrusive digital advertising. If the ad blocking tsunami isn’t proof enough, what will it take?