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When Did Advertising Become Entertainment?

I must have missed the memo. When did it become mandatory to entertain people with advertising? Aren’t there enough lame sitcoms out there to watch? I guess I’m too old school. I come from a background where advertising was educational, informational, and about brand identity. As an informed consumer I would like to know more about the product and be less entertained. Watching cute little 3D animated characters hit on each other doesn’t give me the information I need to make an informed decision. Apparently though, some consumers would rather be entertained than informed or educated. Have we really sunk that low? Really?

Advertising should educate

How can you expect potential customers to buy your product if they don’t know anything about it? Shouldn’t you tell them what makes your product superior to your competitors? Shouldn’t you tell them the value added they receive by buying your product over someone else’s? Maybe it’s better that a cute little squirrel chases after an acorn tumbling down a hill. What the hell does that have to do with your product? Advertising that doesn’t educate doesn’t attract customers. It might entertain them for a few seconds and then they are on to the next entertaining commercial.

It should inform

So you’re having a big sale next week and you decide that the squirrel chasing an acorn is so entertaining that you build your advertising campaign around it and run an ad featuring him next week to promote your sale. However the squirrel fails to tell your potential customers the location, store hours, and limits of the sale. Nobody shows up, but be assured they were entertained. Advertising should inform your customers of not only who you are and what you sell but also inform them about your promotions, your sales, and your special offers and coupons.

Advertising should promote brand identity

Remember back when car commercials used pretty women in there ads? Guys would go out and buy a car hoping that by doing so they to would have a pretty girl in their life. That’s brand identity. You want your customers to identify with the benefits of using your product. You want that benefit to be a good one. You don’t want to send the message that if “you eat our food you will act stupid.” The customer wants to identify with his life being better for having used your product.

Entertainment is a good thing. I like being entertained. There are many good entertaining ad campaigns out there that also educate, inform and promote brand identity. My point is this: if your ad campaign, marketing strategy, or whatever advertising effort you are making is relying solely on entertainment you are missing a huge opportunity to reach new customers and educate them as to who and what you do, inform them about your specials, new products, etc., and branding your product(s) by helping them identify with the benefits of buying from you. Which would you rather be known for? A clever, entertaining advertising campaign, or a well crafted message about your product and/or services that increases your bottom line. It’s your choice. Choose wisely.


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