For all of the time, effort and investment put into developing a “great” advertisement, in general, its real effect is minimal. Ask any person to think of an outstanding commercial and most will have a hard time thinking of one. Worse, they may remember the ad but not the brand. When asked this question, some of my older friends start telling me about an ad they remember from when they were children many (many) moons ago. And it’s often with a nostalgic smile, of the youth-gone-by variety.
The recent global economic crisis has had a dramatic impact on the industry. As most advertisers know, economic trouble hits advertising companies particularly hard. It is often one of the main items on the list for CEOs to axe. The recent great recession was particularly devastating with revenues declining significantly for agencies big and small. Some are starting to see investment in advertising coming back, but we are a long way from reaching the numbers from before 2008. With economic conditions in the U.S. and the Euro zone flat and little sign of improvement in the horizon there is still no proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Don't let advertisers tell you different, because they will certainly try.
And so, is the advertising industry doomed like printed newspapers and books? I doubt it. Unlike people in those industries, advertisers are the best salespeople around. That’s their job. I mean, these are the folks that convince tens of millions of Italians to drink bottled water when it has been scientifically proven that much of the tap water in the country is just as pure, if not more. And yet many still continue to choose San Benedetto, Borio, Levissima, Lilia and many other well-known brands over just plain, free water. Furthermore, most will try very hard to convince you that there are real health benefits like less sodium or another chemical that I’ve never heard of. When I hear this the first thing that comes to mind is WTF!
Here’s one recent ad that works quite well, I think, simply because of its protagonist. However, the script of the ad has obviously been written by an Italian and translated and so it sounds a little weird.
Here's an opinion sent in by The Protestor.
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day (IWD) and I'd like to take a moment to reflect on this with you. If I’m not mistaken this commemoration began as a day to remember the sacrifices made by many women protesting against the terrible conditions they were forced to work in.
Here in Italy, many women celebrate IWD by frequenting strip clubs or by going out with some female friends just to have fun. I’ve never understood why and how IWD became a day to simply have fun. Can someone help me understand this strange phenomenon? Who knows if it's the same in other countries across the globe?
As a teenager I used to go out with my classmates to the center of Palermo during the morning and then eat out in a Chinese restaurant. Try to find any sense in that. And yet it was a tradition for us and I used to enjoy it a lot.
I’ve never been attracted to striptease shows. And as I’m not a good dancer I won't go to night clubs either.… I think the only way you could get me dancing is if I was totally drunk.… I’m not a very shy person, sometimes I can be quite shameless, but one of the few things I'm ashamed of doing in public is dancing.
As always, I don’t think I’ll be doing anything special this IWD. However, I'm very curious to know about all of you. Are you doing anything interesting to celebrate March 8? Have you ever been in strip joint to celebrate IWD?
A good friend of mine, Chris Fogg, a veteran trainer of using English to communicate, wrote me these simple and intuitive thoughts about why we smile. Have a read and let me know if you have any other ideas on the subject.
Why do we smile?
Why is the smile of a young baby so delightful and engaging? Are the smiles of adults different from those of children? A smile is a valuable means of communication, so how can it be used?
We smile because we are happy. Children’s smiles are delightful and engaging because they come from innocence – there is no ulterior motive other than to show us that what they can see or hear (taste does not interest us here) is giving them pleasure.
We as adults sometimes smile for the same reason – it’s involuntary and natural – but we also do it because we could be using it to encourage someone to do something for us. We may be expecting a gift - we may be encouraging them to open up more and reveal something they seem to want to conceal – and sometimes it’s just because we want the other person to like us.
So the smile is important in communication - whether we realize we’re doing it, or not.