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Advertising sucks says PepsiCo president

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy October 17, 2015
Finally an important ad buyer says it like it is - advertising is borked. What's next? We think we know.

gapingvoid advertising
I will never likely attend an advertising event but I so wish I had been at the Association of National Advertising's annual "Masters of Marketing" conference in Orlando, Florida to hear PepsiCo president Brad Jakeman excoriate the ad industry. Among other things, he said:

Can we stop using the term advertising, which is based on this model of polluting [content] ...My particular peeve is pre-roll. I hate it," he added. "What is even worse is that I know the people who are making it know that I'm going to hate it. Why do I know that? Because they tell me how long I am going to have to endure it -- 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 15 seconds. You only have to watch this crap for another 10 seconds and then you are going to get to the content that you really wanted to see. That is a model of polluting content that is not sustainable.

Warming to his theme, Jakeman added:

I am sick and tired as a client of sitting in agency meetings with a whole bunch of white straight males talking to me about how we are going to sell our brands that are bought 85% by women

Truth with power matters and that's hard hitting stuff aimed at an industry, which according to AdAge, places $137 billion in ads each year. Coincidentally, Jeff Nolan posted a link from PC World which talks about the rise of ad blockers:

"We messed up,” wrote Scott Cunningham, senior vice president of technology of the Internet Advertising Bureau and general manager of its Tech Lab. “As technologists tasked with delivering content and services to users, we lost track of the user experience...We were so clever and so good at it that we over-engineered the capabilities of the plumbing laid down by, well, ourselves. This steamrolled the users, depleted their devices and tried their patience."

These quotes are music to our ears.

When we established diginomica, we made a promise that we will never carry advertising. We knew from the get go that advertising is intrusive, repulsive and downright annoying. We also knew that it is a race to the bottom. There was no way for us to establish a meaningful presence using ads as the cornerstone. That's why we created a partnership model which has worked extraordinarily well to date. We are cash flow positive, we pay everyone immediately and we have investment as our number one priority. We have no outside investors and see no reason to take VC or anyone else's money. We are building a new type of media that breaks the mold of the past ad driven model.

The thing about partnerships is they have to evolve. They cannot remain static or they die. Ask any divorced person and you'll get that same answer. That's why in the coming months you will see important changes at diginomica that are designed to improve the reader experience and add value to what we already deliver. Some of the changes will be subtle, others will be dramatic.

As an aside, the AdAge report on the ANA event also quoted Harley-Davidson Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richer:

"Youth does not own cool. Youth does not own growth. Youth does not own innovation or disruption." he said. "Old people are a growth market, too."

Right on. And in our context, while we would take pleasure in reporting that the Global 2000 CXOs suck up our content on a daily basis we know that's fanciful and untrue. Instead, we reach the influencers who really matter but whose job titles belie their power.

It is far from job done but I am convinced we are on the right road.

So thank you PepsiCo and thank you Harley Davidson. This industry needs a strong dose of truth saying. The ball is now well and truly in play.

Endnote: the irony in the PC World piece is that there is an ad overlay.

Image credits: @gapingvoid and hat tip for the AdAge link

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