Almost 30 years ago, in his landmark book, Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy (called the Father of Advertising by many) offered up with reluctance his predictions about advertising in the future. Not claiming to be a futurist of any kind, his publisher implored him to jot down his thoughts for the coming decades. Here's what he came up with, and my thoughts below each prediction. What are YOUR thoughts???
The quality of research will improve, and this will generate a bigger corpus of knowledge as to what works and what doesn't. Creative people will learn to exploit this knowledge, thereby improving their strike rate at the cash register.
Well...research in what? The numbers that we are given so often seem to be skewed or even outright made up anymore. Focus groups are still around, though they don't necessarily predict the future. Street promos are still around. But things like eye-mapping, now that's pretty neat, but still taking a long time to ramp up and usually only affordable to very rich companies. In terms of the ability to get research done, I do agree. Database companies, collection companies, and of course, that little internet thingy. Researchers, analysts, and stalkers rejoice.
There Will Be A Renaissance in Print Advertising I would agree with this one. There's certainly a lot more of it, even with social media as a viable advertising medium. Not to mention mobile. Nonetheless, print advertisers are given additional online opportunities in some cases, and social media is ramping up to go even further than that. Starting with those wonderful banner ads and popups and moving all the way to product placement, the days of the typical Ogilvy print ad are long gone (and yet an Ogilvy ad is usually the most effective, still). One of my proudest moments was creating a full-page ad for my company Ogilvy-style. 200 phone calls in a week. Not bad.
Advertising Will Contain More Information And Less Hot Air
I suppose if you count infomercials as information, then maybe. Otherwise, I disagree with this one. I find advertising to be more and more dishonest with wild claims that are somehow never typical for any client except the five in the commercial. Also, you still have to determine your output strategy. If it's brand awareness, you have to be very careful depending on your reach and your name. Think Coca Cola over any one of those exercise machines. I can't name who makes the exercise machine from looking at it, but I know a CC logo when I see one. Likewise, if your job with the particular campaign is to sell products, you have to focus on information, information, information. Many banner ads on the internet are of some idiot dancing around while Obama implores single moms to go back to school. The focus is more on getting the attention, and then trying to push them to go out and find more information. Read the old-school advertisements from back in the day, and you might be shocked to see that there's practically a full-blown article underneath the photo. And those ads works. For more details...read Ogilvy's book.
Billboards Will Be Abolished Havent' seen this happen yet, though I do see in a lot of cities that they are being regulated more, along with regular business signs. In fact, in Cary alone do you see giant towering signs in the sky? Not til you get on 440. But I believe billboards will always be around, as long as there is a long stretch of road. In fact, larger cities with long stretches of highway (and no regulations on heights) now have double billboards, some with LED abilities to rotate ads out (going far beyond the "blinds" style that are still around in some places).
Also, let's not forget building billboards--the kinds that hand over garages and buildings. Vegas employs this tactic all the time (and interestingly, though you can see it from five miles away, it's still pretty to look at--so they've done their homework).
The Clutter Of Commercials Will Be Brought Under Control On this point I think Ogilvy was wrong. You can't go anywhere or do anything without getting hit up to buy something. Internet banners, popups, popunders, tv shows that advertise other tv shows during the tv shows...I'm surprised they haven't started printing ads on toilet paper! *note to self: start toilet-paper advertising business*
Vast Increase In Advertising By Government
Ogilvy thought the increase would be particularly in Health Education. In fact, currently the White House is in discussions with Hollywood to begin promoting a Community Service campaign.
Advertising To Play a Part In Population Control In other countires, certainly. Here in the USA, advertising I see in regards to population control would have to do with anti-abortion/pro-adoption commercials and of course, pet shelters recommending adoption and/or spay/neuter.
Candidates For Political Office Will Stop Using Dishonest Advertising Whatever! Sorry Ogilvy, you were dead wrong.
Direct-response advertising will cease to be a separate specialty, and will be folded into the 'general' agencies. I can see how this could be true. I personally don't see anyone offering direct mail a their specialty and nothing more. It's practically an add-on. The only DM specialties I see anymore are the Val-pak types. Now, with all the junk mail that comes out, you may think, "Direct mail ceasing?" and you would be incorrect. In-house database mailings are not the same thing as a company whose sole practice is the production and copywriting of direct mail.
Ways will be found to produce effective television commercials at a more sensible cost. I believe this to be true in the sense that more and more companies and marketers are taking their advertising to the streets--i.e., letting the public make the commercials, and thus fueling the campaign, practically for free save for air costs. But as long as there are agencies willing to spend the money, the money will be spent.
How about you? What do you think?
Michelle Gower provides kicka** results for kicka** people at Gower Power Consulting, a WordPress training, mentoring, and assistance authority, in Raleigh, N.C. for the solopreneur, WordPress provider, and small business owner.
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She is currently teaching Advanced WordPress at Wake Tech Community College to small business owners just like you.