Why Most Companies Have Fallen Asleep at the Wheel
Over the holidays I got an email from a radio-marketing executive in India about one of my columns, headlined “Advertising is business, not a holy war.”
Rishikar Krishna, group manager-marketing at Radio Mirchi in Mumbai, agreed with my premise that advertisers seem to be going out of their way to avoid the grubby job of selling.
“Just look at the way awards are being given out at the various advertising festivals,” Mr. Krishna wrote. “Ogilvy’s concept of an advertisement that sells has been devoured by the so-called need of recognizing ‘creativity’ and originality of an idea.”
Mr. Krishna sent me a photo of a banner on a liquor store reading: “On account of New Year free liquor will be served between 8-9 p.m.” Such an ad, he said, “is bound to draw footfalls and in turn increase sales, but it will never be [honored] at any award forum. And hence the pursuit of a higher calling continues.”
The aesthetics of the banner ad Mr. Krishna sent me might not be out of the ordinary, but you must admit the proprietor has taken firm control of his brand.
Truth in marketing? Capital One’s past business practices speak louder than ads.
I agree with the premise of Bob Garfield’s Jan. 2 piece for Ad Age: The core value of a brand must be real and sustainable, and everyone in the company must believe it. The trouble with advertising philosophies like those of Lovemarks and Humankind is that they let consumers decide what a brand stands for. Bob’s thesis is that its stewards throughout the company must take control.
There’s nothing new about any of this: It’s believing in what you sell, and selling with conviction.