Thursday, December 6, 2007

Advertising's diminishing returns

"Did you get any good ones?" I asked my 7-year-old son as he opened his pack of sports player cards.
"I got one of the coaches," said Tevel.
"Hey, what's that on the back of the card?" I ask.
"Oh, it's just an ad," he answers. "Well, not really an ad, but like an ad."
Nothing impressive in that, except that my second-grader not only recognizes an ad, but he recognizes the difference between a third-party ad and a self-promotional ad. He doesn't know the terminology, but he knows the precise difference.

A friend of mine said he doesn't understand Facebook's business model. I said advertising, and he said "I don't see any advertising in Facebook." I am sure he doesn't. It is there, but he doesn't see it.

Advertising is becoming more pervasive. It is getting bigger, louder, more dynamic. It jumps around to get your attention.

We are getting better at tuning out. We will never perfect tuning out, but it is clear that getting our attention is more expensive than it used to be. For consumers, getting expert opinions and reviews is easier and cheaper than it used to be.

At what stage will advertising become pointless? It's hard to actually imagine, but it seems to me that the point of diminishing returns is approaching. At what point will advertising business models be less appealing?

I'm aware I am taking this idea to an extreme, but how extreme is it really? How much is advertising affecting your decisions in actuality?

I'll tell you about some reverse situations in my next entry. I was actually looking for a vendor who advertised and couldn't find anyone.

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