Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Do ads still work?

Did they ever work? Of course the answer is, yes. Back in the good old days people could be sucked into buying anything ... not any more. But hang on, if advertising doesn't work - and traditional classified models are struggling against free online offers - who pays for the news?

Ken Auletta thinks the message can still cut through ... just:

"In many ways, the advertising business in the early twenty-first century would be unrecognizable to the generation that once thrived on Madison Avenue. The traditional assumption, as Keith Reinhard says, was that advertisers chose the time and place of a 'one-way show-and-tell' ad. The consumer was a captive audience. Today, advertisers chase consumers with a certain air of desperation. 'It’s not just about looking pretty anymore,' Linda Kaplan Thaler says. 'There are all these beautiful products out there. You need a lot more personality to get the date.'

"Because the audience is increasingly fragmented, advertisers have found other media—from the Internet to 'guerrilla marketing' tactics, such as using the foreheads of college students (Dunkin’ Donuts paid for that privilege). Ads are increasingly showing up in movie theatres; last year, the Cinema Advertising Council generated three hundred and fifty-six million dollars for theatre owners—thirty-eight per cent more than the year before. Jack Fuller, who, until the end of 2004, oversaw twelve daily newspapers as the president of Tribune Publishing Company, says that his company was among the first to print newspapers zoned by neighborhood. 'The answer to fragmentation is, quite simply, to adapt to changing circumstances and compete hard against all comers,' he says."

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