A lot of folks dump on the ad industry these days. I certainly take my shots at the business. Technology, changing consumer behaviors and consolidation and disruption across the media channels are all conspiring to make it tough to predict the future of advertising — which in part makes it an easy target of criticism.However, this special week, with Super Bowl Sunday right around the corner, is a good time to celebrate all that’s special in advertising. This is time to spend a few moments on the counter-narrative to “advertising is a terrible business.” Just consider these few examples:
The Super Bowl. This Sunday, more than 100 million people on average will tune in to CBS to watch the Super Bowl, each and every minute of the telecast. CBS will sell $500 million worth of ads during that time. Hundreds of millions of individual laughs, shrieks and cries will be spontaneously exuded by viewers as they watch those ads, many of them with the most adorable dogs, horses and lizards that sight, sound and motion have ever captured.
Tech flight to TV and brand advertising. Companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook were built on the Internet. They have caused extraordinary havoc and headaches in and around the advertising industry. However, as The Wall Street Journal reported this morning, now that their businesses are scaled and they need to maintain and accelerate growth, the three biggest tech players have taken to TV in a big way with brand advertising. Amazon’s national TV spend alone grew 60% last year. So much for that oft-heard notion that network TV is dying.
Podcasts and cool, cheeky subway, bus and satellite radio ads. The past two decades have certainly brought some sadness to the ad world with the demise of many pages, publications, ads and energy from newspapers and magazines — institutions that most of America woke up to, delighted in, and wrapped themselves in on their couches in quiet moments.