It’s third-and-long for traditional advertising

Advocates of the 30-second TV commercial have to be scratching their heads after the release of a new McKinsey study showing that, by the year 2010, traditional TV advertising will only be one-third as effective as it was in 1990. Ouch! McKinsey bases its evaluation on a projected 23 percent decline in ads due to bored or irate consumers switching off their sets, a nine percent loss due to increased multitasking (I can relate to that) and a 37 percent decrease in message impact due to saturation.

McKinsey says real ad spending on TV commercials has increased in the last decade by 40 percent while viewership has decreased by 50 percent. As a result, Corporate America is paying more for less. Why? Because, at least for now, no one is going to get fired for suggesting TV commercials as part of a marketing program. But, the McKinsey study was sent to the firm’s Fortune 100 clients (and I’ll bet it’s being noticed by the C-suite).

Happily, the times they are a changing. As a result, we’re seeing more and more smart, savvy marketers de-coupling their old, antiquated traditional advertising spends and reallocating money towards PR, viral marketing and other forms of one-to-one communications.

And, if all this news wasn’t bad enough for traditional advertising purists to digest, the McKinsey study also points to an even scarier future: teenagers spend less than half as much time watching TV as typical adults do and 600 percent more time surfing the web. Someone on Madison Avenue better wake up and change the model pronto.

But wait, there’s more. A new book called "What sticks: why most advertising fails and how to guarantee yours succeeds" by Rex Briggs and Greg Stuart, a couple of research guys, says 37 percent of all advertising is wasted. The authors blame the failure on marketers, rather than ad agencies, and say there are ways to make traditional advertising more effective. The authors also say the biggest reason why traditional marketers still cling to traditional advertising is fear of failure and being fired. They say many marketers allocate wads of money to traditional advertising simply because their competitors do.

Is this any way to run a railroad? To borrow from a time worn football phrase, "It’s third-and-long" for the advertising industry. Will they wake up and embrace alternative marketing, or cling stubbornly to the "safer" traditional approaches? In my opinion, the latter strategy will end up with the industry being "sacked, and forced to punt" to more nimble, future-focused marketing disciplines.

14 thoughts on “It’s third-and-long for traditional advertising

  1. It’s one minute to midnight for the traditional advertising industry, i-man. Consumers are rejecting the intrusion of advertising in their lives. Teenagers (the future for advertisers, med supply companies and everyone else) are rejecting TV and spending 600 percent more time on the web than their parents. What part of that fact, and that reality, do you not get? Inject. Inject. Inject.

  2. lunchy, now i am sure you are in pr, b/c true to your roots, rather than try to argue the logic above or debate the point, your come back with something irrelevant. at least you passed spin 101, b/c i dont think you did that well in any other subjects.

  3. you 2 simply prove that you can have your kool-aid and drink it too!
    READ THE ARTICLE…it disproves your point:
    “That leads one to wonder whether consumer marketing mixes should change to reflect consumer behavior.
    Catch-22
    The answer is not quite — yet, at least. The Catch-22 is a “chaos scenario” that smart marketers have read about in these pages: a dearth of online-ad supply and the web’s generally fragmented nature will keep TV in booming business for the next several years.”
    WHAT PART OF THAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND???
    Is it the part about not needing to change the marketing mix or is it the part about TV booming for the next several years?
    But since you can’t logically address and debate that part, go back to mocking the med supply industry.
    spin, spin, spin…

  4. Good for you, Leo. The medical supply executive simply refuses to face facts. The most damning part of the McKinsey study is its message about the future: kids are rejecting TV and its commercial-laden format. The med supplies executive thinks kids will embrace advertising the way their grandparents once did. Leo: do you think this guy is using his med supplies on himself?

  5. I-man: I did read the article in its entirety and have provided a link for others. You are simply in denial and want to cling to what once was. Were any I-man ancestors busy re-arranging the deck chairs as the Titanic made its final plunge?

  6. lunchy, apparently you never did too well in stats and finance…
    when creating any model, you come up with various assumptions and plug them in to come up with a result. if the result isn’t your desired result, all you need to do is change the assumption b/c by its definition, the assumption is just that! as an example for you lunchy, in forecasting business profits for new biz investors, you can come up with a revenue number and a net margins. if the net profit margin you assume doesn’t get you your desired result for profits, you simply up the forcast for sales or margins until you get your number.
    point is, this study assumed certain numbers and mckinsey put out a report. i bet they wouldnt risk their job on that number. and we all know what happens when you assume…
    argue that logic, lunchy

  7. “basic stats 101 teaches you that in any model, you can make various “assumptions” and come up with any number you want.”
    I’ve never read such a silly statement. Stat 101 never taught me such. And I took three more semesters, bub.
    RepMan, I think the MSE is just saying stupid things to get you heated or prove that he is areally a warped fellow.
    If I were the MSE, I would spend that 100K on some type of personal betterment program.

  8. by the way, this might be a classic case of a spinmaster taking something waaayyyy out of context and spinning into something he wants to read. i suggest EVERYONE read the survey and here is what they will find:
    “That shocking statistic, delivered to the company’s Fortune 100 clients in a report on media proliferation, ASSUMES a 15% decrease in buying power driving by cost-per-thousand rate increases;”
    come on repman! you owe it to your readers to deliver accurate info, and not try to spin them.
    basic stats 101 teaches you that in any model, you can make various “assumptions” and come up with any number you want. so that right there throws this whole study out the window. but wait, readers, there is more. repman also neglected to mention the following from the report:
    “According to Forrester Research’s most recent North American Consumer Technology Adoption Study, people ages 18 to 26 spend more time online than watching TV and are adopting new technology faster than any other generation. Because of that, they tend to be more receptive to blog, podcast and mobile-web ads.
    That leads one to wonder whether consumer marketing mixes should change to reflect consumer behavior.
    Catch-22
    The answer is not quite — yet, at least. The Catch-22 is a “chaos scenario” that smart marketers have read about in these pages: a dearth of online-ad supply and the web’s generally fragmented nature will keep TV in booming business for the next several years.”
    so rep, please do your readers a favor and read the whole article/report and then provide commentary based on what’s written, not what you wish was written…

  9. Oh boy. Someone needs to enroll in the Holy Name Hospital Anger Management workshop post haste. I-man: are you telling me McKinsey doesn’t know what they’re talking about? And, that the world hasn’t passed traditional TV commericals by? C’mon, wake up. Two things: Ad Age thought enough of the McKinsey study to feature it on the front page? Would they do so if it was “garbage” as you suggest? Second, I’d batten down the hatches on the I-man residence if I were you. You’re tempting Mother Nature by proclaiming the hurricane predictions to be off base. So what if there weren’t as many hurricanes as predicted? What, in god’s name has that got to do with the very real (and documented) decline in interest in an outmoded marketing model?

  10. repman, repman, repman…when will you learn? guess what, about 6 months ago all of the research out there said this was going to be a brutal hurricane season and there would be countless storms. well not its august, and zip! so what do they do? they come out and “revise” their projections.
    this mckinsey study is worth about as much as the plastic salad container i just threw out after lunch. even you can’t believe this rubbish to be true. first of all, what quantifies “effectiveness.” 2nd, what do they base these projections on? 3rd- how can they project something 3.5 years away?
    you know this is complete garbage! i’ll tell you what, since you like this study so much, what not get in contact with mckinsey and make them this offer. come up with real ways of measuring effectiveness and then i will make the following bet. if they are right on these numbers, i will give $100,000 to their favorite charity. if they are wrong, they give 100,000k to my favorite charity and they need to spend one night changing diapers in a nursing home.
    something tells me they won’t be sure about these numbers anymore. when will you understand that these stats and projections are total bullshit. i am about to release a study that says in 5 years PR will no longer exist…uh oh, better find a new business! come on rep, you know damn well this study is worth crap!