Friday, September 22, 2006

Pearlstein’s Old Idea

OK, I said I’d only blog twice a week, but I couldn’t help myself. Per last entry, I was really pumped to read Steve Pearlstein’s column on the advertising industry, and where it’s going. The thesis was Advertising’s New Idea: Don’t Push the Product, Pull the Customer.

I'm just speaking for me here, but what a let down. This article offered me little value, and I actually found it to be annoying for a few reasons.

First, it was all about NY creative, and NY small agencies leading the way. Unfortunately, it seems to me the Washington Post has a myopic view of DC business news of interest. I like the trend coverage, but it’s insulting that not one local agency was featured. I’m sorry, but this is Washington, DC, and while there is not the same advertising talent here, there are still very sharp and capable MARKETERS, leading the charge into the new generation of marketing. How about Mindshare Interactive, Rosenthal, White & Partners, just to name a few?

Second, to me the trend is old news. I know agencies and individual consultants that were on to “Pulling the customer in” and “individual marketing” five years ago. BTW, these are local consultants. To me the big trend that was touched on, but not handled effectively was the use of new diverse media in singular campaigns, often invoking much more credible forms of marketing. i.e. PR, blogs, customer reviews, online demos, and yes customizing your Nike shoe on your cell phone.

Yes, traditional advertising’s dead, it’s been dead. This is not a revelation. See Al and Laura Ries’ excellent book, “The Fall of Advertising & Rise of PR.” It was written in 2002. Integrated brand marketing has and continues to be the trend with web 2.0 taking strategies and tactics to a new level. That’s where it’s at.

Third, the article really focuses on the death of the big agency, and its inability to function in today’s broad business world. If Mr. Pearlstein’s Washington Post column had researched the DC advertising market, he would have seen the same trend with the rise of smaller shops and the departure of old mainstays Earl Palmer Brown, Stackig, KSK, etc.

The trend stuff doesn’t offer value to me, but I can see where Joe Smith, business owner may be interested. What bugs me most about this article is it really hurts local marketing businesses. By failing to highlight local companies, Pearlstien makes DC look like a backwater. And maybe you could argue that DC marketing agencies miss elements of sophistication that NY firms offer (a reflection of the conservative culture here), but at the same time DC is the real spin city, isn’t it?

Back to work. BTW, won a deal to promote a new book in the blogosphere coming from a major rock band’s lead singer. No joke. How cool is that? Now I've got sports and rock’n’roll.


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