Why don’t they make memorable adverts any more?

Back in the 1950s the best advertising could be found in the pages of newspapers and magazines. It was a challenge to really engage the audience through a flat page, but there were some worthy attempts!

The advent of TV saw the rise of a new style of advert and some of the classics that I remember, such as Hamlet, Shake and Vac, Levis. Advertising explored the different avenues of humour, irony and style/music to engage on a more emotive level with an increasingly sophisticated audience.  As the volume of channels and adverts grew, and therefore competed with each other, you had to do more to stand out. Film directors even got in on the action.

The next level of development came with the advent of digital and the growth in online advertising. This increased the volume of advertising we were exposed to yet again, but watering down its impact. However, it is all essentially push marketing, even when the targeting is precise. The end result is that consumers have less belief in the advertising messages, no matter how memorable.

A report a few years ago by Biznet said that while 86% of Brits skip through TV advertising, thanks to digital recorders, 52%  said the most memorable ad campaigns they see are still on TV. Compare that to just 1% saying online banner ads are unforgettable. That’s poor  considering even newspapers managed 10% for memorability.

So where does this leave us? Well, it throws down a new challenge. We may not be able to recreate the memorable adverts of the past – either because they have all been made or because too few people will see them, but maybe we need to look again at the basics of brand engagement. Take a look at 3 recent social media campaigns – VW with The Force  , T Mobile’s Angry Birds  and Red Bull with Danny MacAskill. Bet you’ve seen or heard about  at least one of them.   Marketing is truly engaging the digital age at last!