For me, it’s personal, and I promise to get into that. But let’s establish a few basics. Can we all just admit that we hate advertising? Sure, there are some cute ones out there, but we fast-forward as much as we can through them. We ignore billboards on the roadside, most of the time. We stare blankly at bus benches, not at all connected to the real estate smile pasted there. We do what we can to avoid advertising. We don’t like being sold.
So, why? Why do marketers fill the visual landscape with brand messages and taglines?
Well, because it works.
I didn’t start off in marketing because I love commercials, or billboards, or online campaigns. They were a means to an end. I first arrived in Los Angeles a starry-eyed kid determined to make it in the music and movie business.
I met so many talented people who I felt deserved more attention and success than they were getting. And, alongside that, I saw untalented people getting way too much attention and success.
That was it for me. I wanted to learn how to coordinate behind the scenes so I could ensure success for genuinely talented people. But, I had hang-ups. I didn’t want to become cheesy.
Have you seen Bill Hicks’ tirade on the subject? I did and had a stomach ache for a month until I realized Bill had posters hung for that very show -- the dirty, stinking marketer.
So, once I got past the fear of looking bad, and really dug into crafting campaigns on behalf of clients, I started to see how the machine of story creation for the marketplace takes shape.
The biggest ‘aha’ for me was realizing that every product and service in the world had a successful “launch” which contained multiple layers of strategy and tactical execution. Anything “new” to the consumer has had months to years of research and development behind it to get to market. It’s been with product-reviewers long enough for them to write about it and go to print (which back then could be ninety days from final edit to magazine racks). It blew my mind that there were almost no ‘organic’ breakouts in the marketplace.
And in music, if you were a genuine phenom, the establishment would find you and “offer support” immediately. Support usually means access in exchange for equity. We get you the crowd, you give over part of your profits. Very rarely can artists and creative types manage to be relevant and have the business savvy required to succeed in today’s entertainment marketplace.
No matter what, every launch of every product or service involves people. And people respond to continued, crafted communication.
Bottom line, until people change, marketing won’t.