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The Future Of Advertising According To People Smarter Than Me

I’m going to digress from my usual whining about cell phones, politicians, banks, airlines, and assorted Weasels, and pass along some interesting information aimed at my friends in the advertising business.  If you have no interest in advertising, I suggest you peruse some back issues of the blog.  “How to Hire A Butler” is quite popular. If you are interested in advertising, read on….

Last week I was on a panel in New York at the BMO Capital Markets Thought Leaders conference on advertising.  There were many advertising big wigs much smarter than me pontificating on the future of the industry, and I thought I would pass along some of the more interesting thinking I heard.  First a few compelling statistics that came out:

  • General Advertising is in the biggest decline since the Great Depression.
  • Over the last three years advertising revenue has declined by $25 billion dollars.

Of course everyone in advertising is quite familiar with the fragmentation of media.  This business got a lot more complicated when three major networks and a few huge newspapers and magazines turned into hundreds of thousands of cable networks, streaming sites, blogs, online newsletters, and other media outlets.  But one speaker spoke of a media outlet I had not considered – the mega-retailer.  An interesting stat:

  • In 1970 the most popular show on television was “All In The Family”, which drew 70% of household viewers.
  • Last year the most popular show on television was “American Idol”, which drew 17%.
  • Every week three time three times more people visit a WalMart store than watch American Idol.

So is the right strategy to drop advertising on American Idol and buy more space in WalMart?  Well, not necessarily, but this does speak to the transformative power of the mega retailer.  As media channels expanded at dizzying speeds, the retail market collapsed in many ways.  Hundreds of thousands of retailers were replaced huge “big boxers”, so the game was changing on multiple levels.

In-store marketing has taken a major role in the advertising world.  Consumer used to be “advertising driven” in their product choices, but now they often made decisions “in-store”.  Interesting switch.

In my next entry I will reveal the thought leaders vision on “the agency of the future”.  This was the most interesting part of the conference!

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