Barry Eisler has an interesting blog post up right now, on the nature of bullshit in advertising. It's such a prevalent theme in advertising and marketing; politically correct, culturally sensitive, badly designed, emotionally appealing, and entirely illogical. I would guess that a fair number of people today don't even see conventional advertising, because it's simply too passé, too bland - or in Barry's case, it sets off their bullshit detector.
I'm almost waiting for companies to realise that advertising needs to become far more sophisticated in how it reaches consumers. Those of us who swim in the seas of the net are used to having control over our browsing experience, for example, and many will use ad blockers to strip offending elements out entirely; money well wasted, there, for the companies who pay Google for a chance to grab attention. An entire generation has grown up with the concept of downloading content on demand, and inevitably such content comes ad-free (courtesy of the pirates, naturally). How do you reach consumers with your products when they can choose to keep you from their gaze, or when they're completely uninterested in you?
Make advertising = content, as Techdirt likes to say. It applies in real life just as much as on the net. Strip out the bullshit, and give consumers a reason to come looking for you. Kulala.com have the right idea - their planes are advertising for them, obviously, but they're also funny and interesting. They draw attention honestly; this is content, after all, and you can enjoy it even if you are not a customer. There are plenty of other examples around. They all seem to be succeeding in their own way.
I hope there's a place for traditional advertising in the future, but I can't help but feel that it will have to change as the world becomes more technologically savvy. It has to be less intrusive, more intelligent, and better designed. Bullshit meters are only getting more sensitive, after all. It's something worrying and exciting at the same time, because I keep thinking about promotional ideas for the Novel - and while mine involve very few traditional avenues, I know publishers will have a whole host of ideas that are 100% focused into them. I worry about the effects of bad advertising, because I've seen it often enough.
I'm probably being pessimistic. This is something to think about after I've gotten an agent and a contract. In the meantime, I'll just have to sort out the look of the blog and see how I get on - but I will have no ads, and there will be no bullshit allowed here. Like Mr. Eisler, this will be my little contribution to the cause of keeping it real.