‘Advertising is not the way’ – and other bullshit from Cannes

‘Advertising is not the way’ – and other bullshit from Cannes

My new column is live in The Drum:

‘Advertising is not the way going forward,’ Mastercard chief marketing and communications officer Raja Rajamannar said last week at Cannes Lions. One question: how he can make such a claim with a straight face when so much easily-available information says the complete opposite?

Rajamannar explained by saying that “consumers hate interruption” and are increasing using ad-blocking software. “They are paying money to keep these pesky marketers out,” he added.

Now, Rajamannar is correct – to a degree. I have already discussed the rise of ad blockers, script blockers and VPNs in the post-GDPR world. But he made the common mistake of taking a single digital trend and then applying it to the entire marketing world.

Advertising is part of the way forward

Take Nielsen’s recent release of the company’s first-ever CMO Report, which surveys top brand marketers. While the study dutifully looks into how they are changing their media spends, the most interesting finding is that different channels are now viewed as best for different purposes.

Sometimes it takes an official report to tell the industry what should have been obvious all along. Here is the summary.

Nielsen’s survey found that traditional media is best for brand building while digital has become the channels of choice for direct marketing and customer acquisition.

“High reach media—such as television and radio—fit nicely with brand awareness campaign objectives seeking to fill the top of the sales funnel,” the study states. “Whereas more direct response media—such as search and email—fit well with customer acquisition objectives seeking to convert lower-funnel prospects.”

In a prior column, I examined why advertising – strictly defined – over digital is practically useless. Nielsen’s finding makes sense because marketers are not actually moving their advertising spends from TV to online.

Now, based on the reports on Rajamannar’s talk, it seems that he used digital’s difficulties as proof that advertising as a whole is less important today. But digital remains only a small part of the advertising world.

Read the rest here.

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