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The Strange Death Of Modern Advertising

Maurice Saatchi has a piece in today’s FT titled “The strange death of modern advertising“. He observes that “At the age of only 50, advertising was cut down in its prime. Advertising holding companies used to boast about their share of the advertising market. Now they are proud of how much of their business is not in advertising. How did this happen?”

It is happening because creativity declined just when it should have exploded. Instead of treating consumers with respect advertisers chose to assault us with and endless tirade of irrelevant and shallow ads. And the media – the medium (for the most part) lost our respect.

He goes on to touch on message clutter. Marketers made this mess for themselves by zig-zagging on messages.

Each brand can only own one word. Each word can only be owned by one brand. Take great care before you pick your word. It is going to be the god of your brand.

Try this simple test on your own company’s products or services.

Pick a brand. Any brand.

Maurice offers a pragmatic solution – “one word equity”. I couldn’t agree more. “In this new business model, companies seek to build one word equity – to define the one characteristic they most want instantly associated with their brand around the world, and then own it. That is one-word equity.”

This act of distillation and focus should be a priority for every communicator. It might not solve the problems advertising has, but it would certainly improve communications effectiveness.

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