The Modern World Suffers From Ad Fatigue–Better Ads Aren’t Going To Change That Score

BusinessWeek is poking around to see if it can help burst the new tech bubble.

“My fear is that Silicon Valley has become more like Hollywood,” says Glenn Kelman, chief executive officer of online real estate brokerage Redfin, who has been a software executive for 20 years. “An entertainment-oriented, hit-driven business that doesn’t fundamentally increase American competitiveness.”

The magazine also talked to math whiz Jeff Hammerbacher, formerly of Facebook.

“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,” he says. “That sucks. If instead of pointing their incredible infrastructure at making people click on ads,” he asks, “they pointed it at great unsolved problems in science, how would the world be different today?”

I question Hammerbacher’s “best minds” set up. The people who run Facebook, Google and the like are smart people, but the best minds of his generation are, no doubt, doing what they always do–finding cures to illnesses, reinventing how we acquire and use energy, creating new ways to feed to hungry and so on. Advertising is a service business, that can either help or hinder these more noble efforts.

Which reminds me…

“I think that the artist should feel obligated to force whatever he can upon his audience and be the authority because if he doesn’t, some advertising man will. Ronald McDonald will be out there telling people what to think.” -Ken Kesey



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.