November 17th, 2005 by Bob Bly
Is Madison Avenue ripping off its clients?
Yes, according to my friend Richard Armstrong, one of the top freelance copywriters working today.
His premise is that the ad world?s emphasis on branding is misguided ? and that branding is only one of many factors (and not the most important factor) in selling.
But let Rich explain?.
?I’ve always said that you could fire a high-powered rifle down the middle of Madison Avenue at high-noon on a weekday and not be in danger of hitting anyone who’d ever read a single book about advertising. There is just very little in the way of what I’d call ?technical expertise’ in the world of general advertising.
?But because it’s impossible to survive in business on bullshit alone, a lot of these guys have focused on ?branding? as the alpha and omega of marketing.
?Get three Madison Avenue types in a room and it’s ?branding? this and ?branding? that. But it’s ridiculous.
?Look, I believe in branding. I’m sure you do, too. But to me, it’s just one of MANY credibility factors that go into an advertisement.
?If the product comes from a company that people know and trust, great ? go ahead and make use of that in your ad. But you CAN?T build your whole marketing campaign around it.?
The conclusion: branding is just one of many CREDIBILITY factors in marketing ? and credibility is just one of multiple factors in selling ? so to devote your advertising to building the brand is to do something like 1/10th of the selling job it should be doing.
Do you agree? If so, is Madison Avenue conning or misleading its clients on a massive sale?
Or is branding indeed the holy grail of marketing? And are Richard and I just out of touch with this great truth?
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