Marketing overload

Last week I headed to Shanghai for our Women at the Top Summit and found myself sitting next to Imelda Marcos at the gala dinner. She is one punchy and energetic 82-year-old. I managed to get a signed copy of her book ‘The Marcos Truth’, which has photos of her with every head of state you can imagine before she headed off to another engagement.

I then had a punishing 14-hour flight to NYC to host an FT Media Forum breakfast with some of the leading lights of the US advertising world and our wonderful media editor Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson.  On my way  to the airport I heard more than one Michael Bublé song – which got me wondering, is there such thing as marketing overkill?

Don’t get me wrong, I think Michael Bublé is a good and well-known singer (you can invite me to your private concert if you like, Michael). But I’m baffled as to why his marketing folk are flogging him to death on the radio. Marketing should be subtle and subliminal and not rammed down one’s throat.

Which brings me to my other current pet hate: promotional recorded messages telling me that if I want to stop being harassed by them, I have to ring a particular number.

This tacky tactic has no place in the modern marketing industry and I can’t believe the hit rate makes it even slightly worthwhile. Given the plethora of channels to engage audiences available today, it shows poverty of imagination too. Can we please make an agreement as an industry to cease and desist from this 20th century ploy?

  • Ben Pearson

    Ben, regarding the recorded message marketing, I agree that you wouldn’t think that people would engage with this, but is it the same people that respond to 419 and fake lottery e-mails that ring these numbers back? I suppose some people still believe that marketing is a contact sport (ie the more people you contact the better your chance of response/engagement), hopefully this is slowing down now that advertisers want/need more creative and integrated solutions to stand above the competition rather than just hitting everyone with a regurgitated message at every opportunity.

  • Simon Burgess

    I think your analysis is correct but I’m not sure about the conclusion. I agree with Greg’s pitfall, in fact I think TRUTH might even be a goner…
    “There are no more arbiters of truth. So whatever you can prove factually, somebody else can find something else and point to it with enough ferocity to get people to believe it. We’ve crossed some Rubicon into the unknown” White House Press Secretary Robin Gibbs

    And isn’t advertising all about changing perceived value. Is this application of veneer now an abomination to people? 

    Perceieved value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value. Brilliantly brought to life by Rory Sutherland