There have been about four ages of advertising. We have now entered the fifth age. The age of relevance.
In the early 1950s, the Age of Interruption, consumers were happy to pay attention to the ad and basically do what it told them to do. They actively sought to reassure brands and tended to trust what big companies told them. Culturally, advertising was an antidote to the scarcity of the war years.
In the Old Age, the entertainment era of the 1960s and 1970s, people still paid attention to advertisements, but they had to be entertaining. It is the first golden age of advertising creativity. People were actively looking for entertaining commercials, school kids played the right commercials in playgrounds and some of the brand building effects of this are resonating today.
A lot of people can still recite the slogans from the ads back then (were they actually slogans or mini poems for brands? “A million housewives every day, grab a can of beans and say : “Beanz means Heinz” “). John Webster’s Smash Martians ads are still the number one favorite. Dave Trott’s “Ariston and on and on” still sings to us (although you might have a Bosch now). People were eagerly awaiting the new Cinzano, Hamlet or Gold Blend performance.
The era of entertainment has waned, as reported by the IPA, and has become the third age of advertising.
As a senior, the Age of Engagement, in the 1980s and 1990s, the relatively rapid increase in the number of media channels meant reaching people at the right time and in the right place was crucial. Then, the rise of social networks and e-commerce fundamentally changed things in the early 2000s.
In the next era, in the era of dialogue, conversations between consumers could – and often do – have more of an effect on brand growth than advertising. In the old paradigm, when you went to a department store to buy a new dishwasher, other customers weren’t coming to you to tell you what they thought about it. But that’s exactly what they do online. Like I wrote in my book Tell the truth, honesty is your most powerful marketing tool, the consumer had become an expert at finding price comparisons, researching provenance and finding out the opinions of others. Social media, research and online shopping have changed shopping forever.
And where are we now?
We are on the cusp of a new promise. The age of relevance. In the age of relevance, ads are served to the right people at the right time, in the right format, in the right place, fueled by brilliant information about live personal data and not by the proxies that we used in years. 90. If this is combined with a brilliant revival of creativity, informed by our data-driven understanding of what makes a brand talk, what resonates culturally and what is truly personally magnetic, then we have a future. in front of us where no one dodges the publicity. This is because the advertising served to them is the right message, at the right time, in the right place, with the right relevance. We will be in a golden new era for creativity throughout the buying cycle.
And consumers themselves will be contributing to this age of relevance. By changing their own ad preferences, skipping ads they find disruptive, and paying attention to their privacy, they will ensure that hard work is rewarded.
There’s work in our Creative Systems department that shows that when data, media, and creative are optimized together efficiency increases dramatically. I find this really striking and a real indicator for the future: a future where new data offers new efficiency. As Stef Calcraft, our Global Managing Director of Creative Transformation, says, “The truth is that with new knowledge comes a competitive and creative advantage.
There is a bright and positive future for brands that achieve it. Those who do not will find themselves less and less relevant.
Sue Unerman is Director of Transformation at MediaCom