The holy grail of advertising


Instead of reading the proverbial 1000 words, spend the same amount of time thinking about this picture.


HolyGrail of Advertising.PNG

From this thinking, I hope you will conclude the following.

  • There is a natural line of progression for the evolution of advertising.
  • This natural progression has one benefit (engagement) but the price is very high (deception).
  • This natural progression is actually taking us further away from the real Holy Grail.

My philosophy about advertising has always been that the harder you have to advertise, the more problems you have with your product and your brand.

Advertising is nothing more than the commercial entity attempting to control the natural message.  It is a bit like fuel injection in a car. It is true that it makes the car faster and more economical, but the advantage lasts only until the competition catches up.

The stock response by my esteemed marketing colleagues has been to develop ever more deceptive ways of advertising. Consumers recognise that and advertisements are actually actively resisted because it is recognised as (a) an unwanted attempt to influence and (b) a low risk way for consumers to reduce the noise we are exposed to.

As we speak, content marketing is the buzzword du jour.

I honestly believe it is killing the internet. Or at the very least it is doing to the internet what spam did to email – and consumers will find ever-increasing sophisticated ways to ‘put up the firewalls’ to deal with the deluge of ‘content’.

It is clear to me that content marketing is not the answer because no matter how you disguise it, the intention of the content marketer is always to extract a sale, no matter how unobtrusively they believe it is and how much they believe they are simply providing content for content’s sake. ULTIMATELY there is a catch and there is a call to action – even if it is simply a reminder to the consumer (of content) to contact you if there are any enquiries.

There is an answer.

That answer is ironically not to have NO advertising but to make everything an advertisement. This is the foundation of–iCommerce (Immersive Commerce).

Yes I coined a term for it, although it has been used before in slightly different contexts. The key point to note here is that the [i] refers to a verb (an action word) relating to the consumer. Unlike terms like fCommerce or sCommerce or mCommerce, the first letter does not reference a platform or anything that the advertiser does.

And this shift in perspective is indicative of the fundamentally different philosophy that underpins iCommerce. In fact I would argue that it is a case of marketing returning to its real roots of giving the customer what they want.

Traditionally advertising has always been about capturing the eyeballs as they pass through. The challenge has been to make it more effective and a science has developed around the creation of ad – from colour theory to placement; simply to do everything possible to capture the eyeball that is not really there for the advertisement but for something else.

With iCommerce the philosophy is that if you have to create a funnel you have failed.

I know I am not being completely clear about what iCommerce exactly is – but that is because I am hoping to work with a client on developing this up as a viable and, if I say so myself, a game-changing way of doing business in this brave new world.