Is Advertising Dead?


These days you can’t swing a dead cat without reading about someone proclaiming the death of traditional advertising. Which makes me wonder, why are you swinging a dead cat–– and what exactly are these doomsayers talking about?

Name a brand that became famous without using traditional media channels?

ADWEEK reported that yesterday at the Association of National Advertisers’ Masters of Marketing event, Brad Jakeman, the president of PepsiCo’s global beverage group, lambasted ad agencies for not changing with the times. He thinks we’re stuck in the thirty second TV commercial business (this is a tired saw many CMOs recite when they’re slapping their evil step children).

Jakeman said the age of agencies delivering only big budget TV spots and a couple print ads is over. He thinks the new agency model needs to be pushing out 400 to 4,000 pieces of content a year on a $20,000 budget.

Really? Get 100 monkeys at 100 keyboards stat! Steaming piles of content coming up right away, Mr. Jakeman. (Until procurement comes along and demands that the 400 to 4,000 pieces of content be created for $18,000. Then $17K… $15,000…)

Mr. Jakeman, if you honestly believe it’s about the number of pieces of content created, if you delude yourself into thinking people are eager “to join the conversation” with Pepsi, then you’ll get the crappy thinking you deserve.

Ad agencies have changed, Mr. PepsiCo. We’ve scrambled to keep up with the latest fads and media sensations. Much of it has proven to be fool’s gold, but we’ve learned this together with our clients.

You can bitch about old fashioned ad agency business model, Mr. Jakeman, but frankly, if you’re not getting great thinking on your brand–– thinking that is empathetic to your audience and makes a connection–– well, that’s your fault.

Go hire a team of monkeys and create your ocean of content. That should do it.