Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Evil


A recent Scott Adams cartoon shows a marketing team member complaining that engineers are paid more than marketers. Dilbert’s responds that the pay disparity might be explained “Because engineers designed and built every important part of modern civilization and all (marketers) did was misrepresent it”.

Unfortunately, the idea that marketing is synonymous with lying and that members of the marketing profession rank somewhere near or below used car salesmen, lawyers and congressmen is quite prevalent. And, of course, the TV series, “Mad Men” didn’t help.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

My sense is that part of the problem comes from the notion that marketing is a sales function. From my perspective, marketing should be the next logical step after product development. Its function is:

1)    To make potential customers aware of the product/service’s existence.

2)    To make potential customers aware of the product/service’s merits

3)    To position the product/service in the potential customer’s mind in a positive light relative to the competition.

Problems arise when marketers become disingenuous and create blatantly misleading messages about the product/service. Today’s consumers have sophisticated BS detectors So even if you fool them once it’s less likely that they’ll be fooled a second time. Exaggerating about a product’s/service’s benefits or, worse, downright lying about them simply exacerbates the problem.

A recent article in the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School’s magazine, ONE discusses how companies have begun using neuroscience technologies such as fMRI and PET to observe how the brain functions during the decision-making process. The best way to utilize this data is not to employ it as a tool to manipulate people’s purchase decisions but instead to use the information to make a brand’s marketing more selective and to increase a campaign’s effectiveness by being better targeted.

I don’t mean to be Pollyanna-ish about this but, in the end, the marketing profession will be much better served if we can forego the temptation to be deceitful and instead make an honest attempt to put the product or service we represent in the best light possible without resorting to exaggeration or deception and let the chips fall where they may.


Buzz4Boomers March 17,2011

In a recent blog, radio consultant Fred Jacobs notes that advertising agencies may finally be readjusting their thinking about the value of consumers aged 55-64 year old.

“The demographic targets may finally be reacting to the Baby Boom generation. If that sounds totally counter-intuitive, the fact is that agencies essentially stopped thinking once they cemented the 25-54 target in place more than two decades ago.

The Boomer train continues to move, and those over 55 are abundant and a whole lot different than fiftysomethings of just a generation or two ago.

As David Poltrack, head research maven for CBS, points out in a recent Hollywood Reporter article, “The fact is an affluent 58-year-old is certainly more valuable than a 22-year-old who is just getting by.”
As TV demos age – the primetime average is now 51 – there’s a certain logic to advertising targets aging with them. As the Hollywood Reporter notes,Tom Selleck and Kathy Bates are winning in prime, while Classic Rocker Steven Tyler is reinventing American Idol.”


I remember having conversations with agencies about older consumers back in the early 1980s. Historically, the agencies used young adults in their early 20s to make decisions about the value of older consumers and there was a tendency to attribute irrelevant information about the buying habits of previous generations to modern consumers. Thirty years later, now that those 20-somethings are now 50-somethings, it’s nice to see that agency thinking is starting to change.

You can read Fred Jacobs excellent blogs at

Bathtub Symbolism-Another perspective

Cialis Spoof

A couple of weeks ago, New York Times writer Stuart Elliot had a column about the significance of the side-by-side bathtubs in Cialis ads. Here’s an insight from a person who does research in the field of semiotics:

“…those bathtubs…represent female sex organs.”


Is there a Georgia O’Keefe reference here?

You can read the rest of the reader’s perspective here: