Do you read print ads?

air2Every now and then, a print ad for a new piece of climbing gear will stop me in my tracks as I flip through the pages of The Alpinist.

Other times, a drop dead gorgeous print ad of a Ferrari or Lamborghini will make me apply the brakes as I downshift through the current GQ.

But, it hadn’t occurred to me until this morning, that I NEVER, EVER look at the print ads in either The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times.

That’s a pretty bold statement considering a full page ad in either publication probably costs northward of $125,000.

And, judging by my fellow commuters, they’re not stopping to read the print ads in their Times, Journal, Post or Daily News either.

I think most of us have given up on advertising. We know it’s all fake, written by a corporation to try and get us to buy one of their products or services. It’s not news. It’s not editorial and, unless, it’s clearly marked as advertorial, most of it doesn’t contain any relevant, or objective, facts or figures.

Take today’s Times. Please!

The ads in the main section included:
1,) The usual jewelry and fashion quarter-page photos from Tiffany and Dior. Nice, but unless it’s V-Day or an anniversary, I move along at Mach speed.
2.) A half-page ad from iShares by BlackRock. In case you’re interested, an iShare is a core fund that costs one-third as much as your typical mutual fund, strengthens your portfolio AND saves your money. Yeah, sure. And Michael Vick will win this year’s humanitarian of the year award.
3.) A two-thirds page ad from the CME Group, whose motto is “How the world advances.” Seem to me Putin and Hamas could use their help at the moment. In fact, CME works with agriculture producers to manage risk. That’s good to know with fall harvest right around the corner.
4.) A half-page ad from the United Airlines Explorer Card. Seems to me it should be called the United Airlines Destroyer Card, since the airline has destroyed so many of my business and personal trips.
5.) The fifth, and final, ad is my favorite. It’s a full-page in length, and was paid for by Sonatrach. You know, the company that promises “achievements and commitments.” Yes, that Sonatrach. Still doesn’t ring a bell? Well, the Sonatrach ad appears as part of a two-page advertorial entitled, ‘Africa rising’.

Considering the Ebola news of late, I might have advised the Sonatrach folks to wait a generation or two before thumping their chests about achievements and commitments. Holy poor timing, Batman!

Anyway, you get my drift.

So, why does print advertising survive? Why do organizations continue to spend millions of dollars producing ads that no one reads, much less believes?

If only that very same money were to be diverted towards a public relations campaign, we’d be onto something. If nothing else, PR people would know better than to run a special section in the middle of a major Ebola breakout.

There’s dumb. And then, there are the advertising folks from T Brand Studio who, at the bottom of the Africa rising advertorial, claim credit for its creation. Maybe they can explain why so many otherwise intelligent people still shell out millions of dollars for print ads no one will read?

7 thoughts on “Do you read print ads?

  1. Mr. Cody,

    I couldn’t agree more about this old time method of advertising. However, giving it further thought, are we not susceptible to these type ads everywhere? (Web banners, pop-ups, billboards) it’s less about consumers reading it and more about repetition and retention. Sub-consciously we are all as consumers exposed (maybe not engaged) to thousands of ad campaigns on a daily basis and more often then not, we as consumers can quickly recall that jingle and remember the “brand”, but maybe not the product. Industries care less about the product then loyal and even “new” brand recognition. While we don’t engage in those individual ads, our brains quickly assemble a larger picture of the brand and thus continue to recognize their ads in the future due to repetition. Finally, when a need arises for that “brand’s” product, who do you think we as consumers are going to research first? Bob’s Cola or Coca-Cola?

  2. Carl, the Repman of the day was too busy making Bernays sauce for the war effort. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

    • The former. I apologize in advance for making puns, usually with good reason.