The Four Ts of Advertising, and why it doesn’t work


Wasp2If marketing has the “Four Ps”, advertising in its current form has the “Four Ts”- Turgid, tragic, tired, and terminal. Advertising is trying to be an end in itself, and it’s blowing it, badly.

Saturation advertising only makes real sense if you’re trying to get a campaign across. Even then, you don’t need to eat up air time. 90% of the audience won’t be interested after the second ad. Those interested don’t really need to be told the same thing endlessly.

Yet, in the “turgid” category, that’s what happens. Enormous sums are spent to tell people something they already know, and more to the point, know what they think about it. Even direct marketing doesn’t sink to these depths.

The art of being a Somebody front coverStaggering across to the “tragic” section, we find unbelievably low grade production which makes even the shopping channel look like a Congressional committee. This absolute swill blunders about with loud recording volumes, 1950s live studio lighting, and almost no message worth looking at, or more often a message well worth avoiding.

In the very unspectacular “tired” section, we see the antithesis of basic advertising- Ads that look exactly like everything else. These budget-wasting coffins are instantly forgettable, and they are, instantly forgotten. Lack of talent may be an excuse for the production quality and content, but lack of sanity and savvy are the main probabilities for this rubbish getting past a creative editor.

In the “terminal” stage, we get all three, with a level of sleaze, tat, pseudo-sexiness and/or regressive content. From unimaginative and uninspiring to unbearable is apparently not as far as it might seem. This is the advertising equivalent of Snog, Marry or Avoid, and marriage isn’t an option.

As vacuous, useless garbage goes, these categories are at various degrees of unforgivable. What’s unforgivable isn’t working with weird, insular products and attached people, or delivering dreck to the deserving, but the sheer lack of value.

Clients, bless their many faces and feet, may not get it immediately, but they do, eventually get it that advertising is supposed to be done for a reason. They will also wonder why people are allergic to the names of their products, after a few years.

How many ads Barbarianshave you seen where the first thing that crosses your mind is that you will never, at gunpoint or otherwise, buy that annoying product? You’re not alone. Advertising of this kind is as genuinely trusted and liked as politicians.

There are a few reasons for that:

  1. Constant repetition is guaranteed to annoy.
  2. More isn’t better, when it comes to information.
  3. Low grade copy, content, and visuals equal low grade product, to consumers.
  4. Non-targeted ads, like insurance ads on heavy metal music on YouTube, are worse than ridiculous.
  5. The “wonders” of media aren’t the same thing when about half of the world does media in some form, and does it so much better.
  6. This audience can check products and compare in about half a second. Crap will be considered crap, and proven to be crap.
  7. People aren’t demographics. Relevance to individuals matters.
  8. Advertising psychology goes so far, and in these cases, it goes backwards to a non-existent time when all advertising campaigns were successes.

Thus do we waddle elegantly to a few natural suppositions:

  1. Yon public hath a mean and ugly look, in response to most dreck-level advertising.
  2. Ye righteous consumer looketh, speweth, and looketh no more at that which does not please and inform.
  3. They client-critters will eventually think to look at their sales figures, not their ads, and howl mightily.
  4. Said clients may decide that the time-honored Machete-Based Farewell is appropriate if their needs are not met.

Focus, you bastards.

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