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“I hate advertising”.
These were the words spoken by our CEO while taking part in a panel discussion last week hosted by the Saskatchewan Professional Marketing Association (SPMA). After the event, I was speaking with another panelist and asked him what he thought about our CEO’s comment. To my surprise, he said he did not think there was a person on the panel who did not hate advertising. The point he was making was that the market is so saturated with advertising that it is difficult to communicate to the people you are trying to reach.
As a society, we are constantly “plugged in” which opens us up to being inundated with all sorts of media at any given time. Our job as visual problem solvers and communicators is to try and cut through all of the noise to engage our clients’ target audience. That being said – like our CEO – most people are put off by advertising. We are getting so used to having on-demand content at our fingertips and our attention spans are not what they used to be.
I enjoy watching cable TV for the odd chance that I’ll see a great TV spot, or a spot promoting a local event that I might not have heard about otherwise. My partner, on the other hand, bemoans the times she is forced to watch what she calls “real TV” with me.
Honestly, I think the thought of watching a weekly episodic television show, complete with commercial breaks, repulses her. Instead, she makes us wait for seasons of our favourite shows to be added to Netflix so we can (binge) watch them, commercial-free. I think her perspective is probably more common than mine.
People get annoyed with pop-up ads on websites. They want to watch their favourite cat videos on YouTube so badly, that they curse under their breath at the 30-second advertisement that plays automatically at the beginning. So annoyed are some people, they opt to subscribe to ad blockers so they don’t have to deal with the noise.
So what does this mean for our industry?
Well, it is comforting to know that the panelists at last week’s SPMA event were all on the same page when it comes to the state of the industry. Creative communication needs to be strong and engaging, and it needs to be both of these things in a shorter space of time than it ever has before in order for that message to reach someone who wants everything now.