Advertising used to be commercials on a handful of free-to-air TV channels and ads in well-read newspapers and magazines, in addition to outdoor and some other media. 30 seconds on one of the network channels would guarantee broad exposure!

1. With the advent of Cable, this model started disintegrating, covering tens if not hundreds of channels became expensive.

2. With the introduction of the internet and news streaming, newspapers lost marketshare and advertising in these became less effective.

3. Further, with the arrival of Social Media, marketing folk are finding it hard to make their brand heard in the marketplace. Less than 1 in 200 Facebook fans engage the brands they are a fan of. (Marketing Science)

They used to control the consumer viewing experience, that control is now largely in the end user’s hands.

Many forms of Social media are where people choose to privately interact with others and used to be advert free, but advertisers insist on using it as a forum to shower users with messages. Subconsciously this is seen as an intrusion and is subsequently being tuned out.

In 1958 TV commercials represented 13% of programming, today it’s 36% (including in-show brand appearances). It becomes almost impossible to maintain a sense of continuity when watching a program, so much so that Netflix and recording devices have become popular to avoid the commercial content.

Online, many brands ensure you are behaviorally targeted so you’ll spend a couple of months being bombarded by ads from companies selling products based on your search stats. Targeted or Pinpoint advertising is expected to be applied to your TV viewing in the near future. Targeted vs. “run of the network” ads only increase conversion rates when clicked on* from 2.8% to 6.8% on average.** 68% of Americans object to targeted advertising.***

The end result is that we live in a society with an information overload problem, and much is being tuned out. Humans evolve and adapt to change, as such we are finding we are learning to selectively hear what we want to, the first time a commercial is seen it might be absorbed, repetition used to work as reinforcement, now it’s like an off-switch!

Look at yourself and those close to you, notice we are all engaged in selective listening!

Passing a coffee shop and having your smart phone ping you with an offer for a dollar off your next beverage (Geo-location advertising) is cool to a percentage of the buying public, but to others its an intrusion! Many prefer to enter the store and look for a discount coupon on their mobile device. Given the amount of time the technology has been available and that it is not widely used suggests that brands aren’t welcome to steer everyone’s lives!

Why is it that gas pump TV advertising seems particularly annoying and intrusive?

Is it even safe to click on online ads? Hackers are now targeting online ads: Google alone disabled 400,000+ ads from as many sites hiding malware in 2013. (WSJ, Feb 2014)

All indicators are that advertising volume will continue to grow, it follows that the percentage of people tuning out the intrusion will increase. This means that the real ROI on traditional brand advertising should decline over time!

There are many ways of selling online advertising: bidding by CPM (cost per mille), CPC (click through, CPA (cost per action), etc. and costs can easily exceed return.


Traditional Brand advertising is the basis for Google, Facebook and many others to monetize their online businesses.

The trouble with Brand marketing is although marketing people are encouraged to “think outside the box”, the box of brand marketing itself is rarely challenged! Brand Marketing isn’t the holy grail!

The essence of marketing is getting your product or service communicated to the marketplace as effectively as possible.

The Holy Grail of Marketing is to grow your product /service sales virally by personal recommendation, either by good old fashioned word of mouth and/or digitally, through Social Media in all it’s incarnations.

But social interaction is a process that is controlled by the end user or consumer, the average person has become immune to the advertising bombardment by sellers, and isn’t going gaga over their products or services, even less spreading the news to others.

So to the savvy advertiser’s dismay, the industry is engineering itself into a brick wall.

It’s floundering!


So, to take full advantage of social networks, rather than presume they will bend to your marketing framework, conforming to social networking maybe a friendlier, far more effective way to market your product/service, taking full advantage of its ability to spread your word virally.

Some of the most enjoyable buying experiences relate to finding a unique product/service and passing on your ”discovery” by word of mouth or virally over web-based social media at a rate that simply was not possible several years ago. I believe the viral capability is that much more enhanced if the product/service isn’t seen as an effort by advertisers to shove it down our throats. By de-structuring traditional marketing elements, reducing or hiding your logo altogether, downplaying advertising and experiential marketing and focusing marketing efforts instead on the new, more subtle task of enhancing a “discovery” process, certain brands may better conform to, and find acceptance in, a jaded consumer market!

Steve Jobs did this with great success at Apple:

As did others also with great financial rewards:


Creative Marketing Engineers

Chief Creative


A 30 year veteran creative in the advertising and marketing field. He has lived and worked in South Africa, Australia, Amsterdam and Atlanta USA working for Design Studios and Ad Agencies, starting his own shop in 2004. RINC has a broad range of clients, primarily in the Financial Services, Tech, Aviation and
Healthcare fields.


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