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When I was 15 years old, I had first learnt about marketing and advertising. In fact I was so infatuated with this idea of creating an ad that I had made up my mind back then that this will be my profession. To me advertising was fascinating because of the amount of power it held. The ability to communicate with masses, to reach out to them and send a positive message that could change/influence someone’s life seemed exhilarating to me. After finishing my schooling I finally started working in an ad agency and I was sure that all my dreams of creating iconic thought changing ads would come true. But sadly what I was confronted with was a world where mediocrity was not just accepted but requested. Brands who did not want to take a point of view and wanted ads that were created based on data and not ideas and emotions. In a conference in Orlando, Florida, Brad Jakeman the head of Pepsi Co called today’s advertisement pollution and I could not agree more. He says “an 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.” An ad is supposed to be story that is being told to the viewer in which the product plays a key role. Over the years people forgot about the story and only remembered the product. They forgot it was the story and journey that the consumer always related to, the relationship with the product was a by product of the first relationship. Today, advertising is about saying the right thing and mentioning the product and not about forming a bond with consumers. Its about reaching an X number of people by spending only Y dollars. This approach does not work simply because advertising is not a science, one cannot expect to put in a certain amount and get a return on that. Advertising is about creating a bond. One of the most iconic ads of all time is from Avis a car renting service. They were the second most popular car renting service behind Hertz so when they wanted to promote themselves they simply said that “we try harder, because we are number 2”. This was a huge risk, because you were spending money telling people that you aren’t the best. But what they did by doing this was form a bond, and the public responded. People understood what the brand stood for because it was honest and created a relationship. In today’s data and ROI driven safe world no company would do that, and due to their fear they miss out on creating a bond. And that is the sorry state of advertising.

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