Part 1: The Fall of Advertising.
Advertising has always suffered from a lack of credibility. An advertisement is the opinion of a company whose motives and judgment are not the same as those of a consumer. Advertising tries to make up for its limitations by massive media expenditures. The emphasis has been on impact rather than on communications.
Over the past few decades, three developments have seriously undermined the effectiveness of advertising in general. One is the increasing costs for any individual advertisement. The second is the increasing volume of advertising. And the third is the expansion of advertising media to include almost every available opportunity to influence a consumer. (From ball games to bathrooms to blimps).
This triple combination has seriously eroded the effectiveness of all advertising programs, including those of the largest spenders. For four years in a row, from 1997 to the year 2000, General Motors was the largest advertiser in America, spending $13.2 billion on advertising. In those four years, General Motors' share of the U.S. automobile market dropped from 32.1 percent to 28.1 percent.
Other big advertisers, including McDonald's, AT&T, Nike and Coca-Cola have had similar records. Big budget don't necessarily produce big sales or profit increases. In response to its critics, the advertising industry has tried to divorce itself from a focus on effectiveness to a focus on "creativity" and "awards."
The role of advertising, according to many of its defenders, is not to sell anything, but to capture the prospect's attention. No advertising has gotten as much attention as the Budweiser campaign, "Whassup?" The Whassup? campaign has won more awards than any other advertising program in advertising history, including the Grand Prix for TV and Cinema at Cannes.
Advertising Age reported the euphoria that erupted when the Cannes award was announced: "The