Hey, Leave The Internet Out of This

Jeff Jarvis says the darndest things.

In response, The Ad Contrarian says things too.

…the internet has created a new species of human being. And these new human beings live in a wonderful world in which they have relationships with all the companies that make the products they use.
And the only time companies need to advertise to these people is when that relationship is broken and failing.
You see, these new humans don’t buy things for practical reasons — like, it works better, or it’s cheaper, or it looks nicer. It’s all about the relationship.

In a comment on The Ad Contrarian’s post, Jon P says, “The idea that online communities and conversations are going to replace advertising as the engine of our economy is just plain nutty.”
So who is right and who is wrong?
Turns out, everyone and no one. Truly exceptional companies with world class products and services don’t need advertising, for the product or service creates an unending supply of positive word-of-mouth. Patagonia is one of the few companies in this incredibly elite category.
Companies that do need advertising–even great companies like Coca-Cola–can still have what Jarvis calls “a direct relationship” with the customer. That’s wonderful, but it’s not enough. Not nearly enough. For instance, is the marcom staff at the client prepared to capture people’s attention and then hold it long enough to establish not just a sale but brand preference? Because that’s what advertising is, and it takes a tentful of highly skilled clowns to pull it off.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. David,
    Has that summer-y Portland weather gotten to you?
    What’s with all the oh-so moderate, “they’re both right” stuff. You know he’s full of crap.
    Might as well take the signs down from the front of stores — if you have a good “relationship” your customers already know you’re there, right? If you need signs you must be failing!

  2. It is unusually hot outside.

  3. Funny!

  4. You want a lasting relationship?
    See I can have very good relationships with people within my perameters. My borders seem to be age, weight for example. You are male and trim and tall and estimately 50 and have a certain look In your eye … Enough said.
    Anything beyond that your advertising is going to have to be very convincing to have any type of lasting relationship .
    Even the beatles will not sell to the present generation without some advertising of frank’s.