Death of Advertising

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"All the successful models we grew up with don't work. It used to be brands had all the power, and then they got sidelined by promotions. Now it's become a consumer republic again. The consumer is boss – there's no more mass market – and is driving the flow of information."-- Kevin Roberts, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide

Advertising is mass media paid communications used to convey information, develop positive attitudes and encourage customers in the target audience to respond in a desired way. (Bradley) From the time of the Egyptians who made commercial posters on papyrus scrolls to the 19th century when press advertising grew and finally embarked on the 20th century when advertising started growing in innovative ways previously not even dreamed about. Simply put, for the baby boomers or even the generation X till Y, it was modern day window shopping where shoppers didn’t have to leave the comfort of their own homes, and could get a, so to speak, privileged preview of the marketplace. The term “Soap Opera” was coined because of the advertisements of soap being broadcasted at regular intervals during the screening of popular drama series on television. Such was the power of advertising. Pop culture was influence to a large extent by the advertising campaigns started by different companies. Advertising verily was the backbone of marketing communications in the innocent times of the 70’s and 80’s where you could easily reach large audiences, both locally and nationally. With the invention of the television, a new medium was created for further proliferation of promotional messages and it created an avenue for a lot of creativity and competition. As the communication media grew, so did the modes of advertising. Television, Radio, Billboards, and a host of other media have beaming us enticing messages of myriad offerings and manufacturers are climbing over each other to get a piece of the sale pie. Things continue to be dynamic and changes in times and social culture and technology kept being a constant force in shaping the marketing strategy of any firm. And as we stand here, we have seen a shift in consumer preferences and needs. The same consumers from 10 years ago have developed a different set of needs, satisfying which is the main objective of the commercial world. Not to forget of course the new generation of consumers who drive the most radical of changes. The world is increasingly becoming more and more individual oriented and every consumer wants to be treated as the only one. Companies now need to address the need of making the consumer feel like the products offered are made specially for him and an age of customization has been ushered in. In such a scenario, mass media advertising, targeted at numbers might not be the most successful option always. And of course with the advent of superior technologies and the dominance of Internet and the online life becoming more and more tangible, traditional advertising does take a blow in the head. A consumer is now termed as “multi screen user”, spending a majority of his waking hours in front of either computer, smart phone or TV screens whether for work or leisure. It is clear that due to growing individualistic culture and superior technologies, traditional advertising, which needs to engage the attention of a jaded population, is fast losing grip. Marketing is all about reaching the people wherever they are and creating awareness about a particular product and promoting a sale. However with the consumer presence shifting, the mode of marketing needs to be shifted and modified as well. TV advertising has long been given the major part of marketing budgets but with the economic slowdown worldwide and companies slashing their budgets and getting more discerning, ROI (return on investment) has become the phrase of the day. With consumers being bombarded with too many messages on TV, the consumers have become choosier and can decide not to watch a particular...
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