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March 08, 2006


Walter Graff

No offense, but are you serious? Are you so far from reality being an academic that you do not see that advertising has been a loosing model for some time now? I think the answer to your quest is pretty simple.

Seth Godin says it best in his books, people don't buy anything but a story these days. If they take the story and believe it, it matters not if it's real, only that they believe it is. Television is one of the last vestibules of authority left and as a result advertisers still can sell folks on the myth that television advertising works based not on reality, but that story.

Don't get me worng, advertising can work very well. I raised one clients sales numbers by 40%, but the difference was in the type of advertising I created. I sold a a real story, not an image that had little to do with the product and more to do with my need to win awards.

Advertisers are narcissists, more concerned with recognition for their work amongst their peers and pushing the edge of creativity for the sake of creativity while putting their clients in the back-seat. I think Al Reis was the person who said the day advertising becomes art, it is no longer advertising. Today you can see advertising in museums. Who got recognition for that, the client and his product or the creative agency, and more importantly who should have?

This industry is long overdue for change and it's not the big guys who will do it but folks like me that escaped from the ills of the advertising system some time ago, with the goal of selling my clients product or service, not my name.

If you are a student of the science of the Enneagram you know this country is at the peak of being a type three -image driven/achiever, as a nation. 'We' are highly concerned with performance, constantly driving ourselves to achieve goals as if self-worth depended on it and terrified of failure always comparing ourself with others in search for status and success. Rather than package ourselves for what we are, we package ourselves according to the expectations of others and the desire and need we have to be successful causes us to loose touch with our real feelings beneath what the world sees as a smooth facade. And as a result we are a beautiful box with the most elegant wrapping but one look inside and you will see we have nothing to really offer.

That is what advertising sells today and that is why we are a nation where credibility is becoming a major problem and phoniness is becoming a natural and accepted form of consciousness.

Advertising as we knew it IS dead, we just don't have the guts to look inside the box because there really Is a mirror in there.

David Polinchock


Thanks for your comments, and yes, we agree with you that the advertising industry as we know it is fading. It's not quite dead yet because it still has too much financial backing to just stop, but there are lots of great examples of how it's changing.

And if you read through the whole blog or our web site, you'll see that we've been talking about compelling stories for almost 15 years and very strongly believe that having a compelling, authentic and relevant brand story should be at the heart of any company that wants to be successful in the future.


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