Here’s the lede of this post: What’s missing from most marketing today is simple, its humanity.
If you only learn this much from today’s post, you’ve learned enough to make you think about things a little bit. I hope.
But the truth is that over the last decade or longer, likely as long as we have been trying to use digital tools to solve for everything, we have been in a fight to make our ads more efficient.
Which is great.
Ads that don’t work are a waste of everyone’s time.
The problem is that in searching for the secret to make our ads more efficient, we have also lost a lot of the humanity in them as well.
David Ogilvy said, “Advertising reflects the mores of society, but it does not influence them.”
Maybe that is where the challenge is coming from. Our advertising lacks humanity because our society lacks humanity.
As crazy as that sounds think about some of these examples:
- We spend so much time staring at our phones or mobile devices that we can often ignore the person with us.
- We go to the Internet to have discourse much of which is corrosive and, all too often, vile.
- Taking a digital sabbatical is a thing that people seem to be almost proud of as if the need to take a digital sabbatical shouldn’t be an emergency.
I’m not trying to beat up on our digital tools. They are great. They allow us to connect with people around the world.
Where the challenge comes into place is that we don’t make connections with machines. We make connections with people.
That brings me back around to where we are today. So much of our advertising and marketing is measured to an incredible extent that it is robotic in tone.
We know how to push a specific “emotional” button, but is it a true emotion or just a reaction.
It is pretty much a given that we are more outraged and more driven to hot takes than ever before, is this a reaction to the fact that our ads and our messages have all been designed in a way that compels us to look for the most “hot” of takes or the most “emotional” of reactions, when the statement or idea we are ranting and raving about is more than likely stupid, but not egregious?
The same idea goes for advertising. Are we really doing a good job of creating and building customers, or are we just getting reactions and looking at that as success?
I think what our advertising needs is more humanity. But if you follow Ogilvy, like I do, you’ll realize that we need our culture to add a little more humanity back to the mix as well.
We’ll see. I guess.
Like my thoughts? I write a weekly note that focuses on value, people, and performance. If you’d like to be on the list, send me a quick note at dave @ davewakeman.com