Opinion

Where’s the content gone?


Is it me or is there a complete lack of content in broadcast advertising?

Something seems to have happened in adland. I wrote recently about content vs context, and also about how creativity is getting boring.

But in the days since, something else has occurred.

The real issue is that advertising – and specifically TV advertising – is lacking content.

There’s nothing meaty out there. Nothing that seems to be anything other than a shameless attempt to get the consumer to open their wallets and engage at a financial level.

I’m being constantly invited into someone else’s context to purchase this new gadget or that new washing powder. I’m still to see an ad that is able to appeal to my personal context.

I’m being told – in frankly dull terms – that my life will be better if I go here or buy this new product.

But the lack of content makes these appeals into nothing other than moving wallpaper.

There is, however, one notable exception:

Love it or hate it, the Yeo Valley tactic inspires engagement.

It raises a laugh. It might inspire you to download the track. It gives you something to talk about.

This is an ad that’s content heavy in a sea of light-weight ephemera.

And because of that, it’s memorable. Whether it will drive sales or not is another question, but I bet people are sharing and talking about the content.

Adland lives in its own little bubble for much of the time. And I think that this is where some of the problem comes.

Take another look at the situation from a magazine reader’s point of view.

What would you rather buy – a magazine full of interesting articles and custom content that inspires you to go out and find out about new and interesting topics? Or a publication full of ad puff, whose only real purpose is displaying print advertising?

Personally, I’d rather read content than adpuff. I bet that you would too.

So why are TV spots inflicting contentless noise at us? Perhaps adland needs to take a trip to the local news stand and flick through some of the heavier weight publications to see how content strategy works.

Because otherwise, advertising will end up being irrelevant. It’ll be the filler in between increasingly contentless programming, even more so than it is now.

Somewhere, adland has lost its spark, it’s joie de vivre, it’s true sense of purpose.

I, for one, want to see it back.

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