Point Counterpoint

“Advertising has a problem. It’s not efficient. Yes, you can buy results-only advertising, but the waste-to-results ratio runs in the same range as lotteries. And yes, Google has revolutionized advertising by 1) making results affordable to nearly everybody, and 2) moving the waste to where it’s best tolerated, which is by servers pumping out stuff most people don’t mind ignoring. But it’s still waste. The day will come when something new will connect demand and supply directly and efficiently. (Maybe Google will do that too… who knows?). Then advertising as we know it will be a goner. I’ve been predicting this for a generation, by the way, so I’m not holding my breath. But trust me. It will happen.” –Doc Searls in Linux Journal
In response to this conjecture, Mack Collier made an insightful rebuttal on Marketing Profs:

Doc’s a smart guy, but he lets his hatred of marketing cloud his judgment whenever he speaks on the subject. As a result, he is constantly coming up with his latest ‘theory’ on how at some future point, marketing, and people that make money off marketing, will go away.
Of course neither will happen, because people don’t WANT to see marketing go away. Do we all want more efficient marketing, and less marketing that gets in our way? Absolutely times two. But what Doc and other members of the ‘a world without marketing is the world for me’ crowd forgets is that people WANT to be sold to. They want to be ‘romanced’ by companies seeking their business, they want to comparision shop, and many of us actually ENJOY shopping, at least for certain items.

Right. Like shoes. People enjoy shopping for shoes. I do. And I know of others.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.