Someone, Somewhere Is Going To Create Beautiful And Effective Digital Advertising For The Win

Paris-based freelance writer and media consultant, Frédéric Filloux, says digital advertising sucks and the ad business is suffering from “lethal self-complacency.”

In the news business, we have a rule of thumb: an electronic reader brings 15 to 20 times less in advertising revenue than a print reader does. I’ll stop short of saying this dire state of affairs is only attributable to advertising. Between inadequate interfaces, poor marketing, and the certainty that, just by itself, intellectual superiority entitles to success, medias carry their share of responsibility in this situation. But, for the most part, it is the advertising community who missed the digital target.

Filloux suggests media companies, not ad agencies, will begin to solve the problem by developing their own creative teams and working more closely with big advertisers. I don’t doubt it. I just wonder why the ad business can’t get its head around the demands of this media.
Filloux suggests it is “hard to reform a fat-cat culture – from heavy margins, captive clients, cozy cronyism – to a more agile one, where technology and innovation drive the business.” Clearly, but it’s not just the fat cats making bad digital advertising.

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. That’s it, blame the victims.

  2. Not sure which victims you’re referring to here, Bob. Usually, it’s the audience that’s a victim of poor advertising. At any rate, I know what a low opinion you have of online advertising. What I don’t know is who you blame for the situation and how you see us climbing out from under this particular rock.

  3. it’s a crap medium for advertising. simple as that. there i said it!
    now where’s my free t shirt?

  4. Vee Dub, your shirt is on the way. But sides of barns are poor mediums for ads too. We’ve never let the medium dictate before, why is the internet different? Yes, users are empowered here. But empowered users still want to buy things and they want to know which things to buy.

  5. side of a barn is a great place to advertise tractors!
    true we still want to buy things bur nobody wants to interact online with brands unless they love those brands already. i don’t. do you? advertising just doesn’t enjoy the symbiotic relationship with the internet that did with the paid media. they depended on us for their existence. the internet doesn’t. and it’s very hard for an ad to compete with a constant ad-free torrent of awesome stuff you love.
    which is why we at Pod earning your audience. which is really hard. but what else is there?
    love that shirt.

  6. I know it’s the fun and trendy thing to rip the snot out of ad agencies while pedestalizing digital people. It’s getting really tiresome, to be honest.
    The elephant in the room is that most of the bad digital advertising is created by clients and some (not all) digital pros who couldn’t care less about a concept or design. They just perceive it as “cheap and fast marketing” and like the fact they don’t have to put any thinking towards it.
    If more clients actually sought out ad agencies and digital firms who “get it” we would not see so much bad digital advertising.

  7. agree with Mark. Online is the new radio advertising. cheap, fast and nasty. and now that we’re all on facebook there’s even less chance of having a meaningful exchange. ever try writing a facebook ad? not much fun to be had there by anyone.