Advertising Age: “We Hate Ourselves”

Ok, I’m paraphrasing. Here’s some choice excerpts from the piece:

Self-loathing has become all too commonplace in marketing, as Bridge Worldwide CEO Jay Woffington sees it, and not entirely without reason.

Young marketers or agency executives don’t take long to learn they’ve dedicated their lives to creating stuff people seek to avoid, and with increasing success.

“Consumers hate advertising,” Mr. Gilbreath wrote in a preamble for a WPP Digital-backed discussion group last year. “Meanwhile, consumers hate us — the marketers and advertisers who invent new ways to spam them online and offline. The result: CMO and agency turnover is rising dramatically, and advertisers are ranked below lawyers in terms of public respect.”

Of course, CEO Jay Woffington’s solution is “Marketing with Meaning.” Or, just a different type of more stealthy, manipulative message.

We think our solution is better: “Your Life with Meaning.”

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  1. Thanks for covering our article, Steve. I think we actually have a lot of common beliefs. And “marketing with meaning” is certainly not “stealthy, manipulative” marketing. Our entire premise is that:

    • Increasingly people will find ways to opt out of unwanted, interruptive advertising. In fact, groups like yours are helping to make that happen.

    • Instead of fighting this and finding new ways to annoy people, we, as business people, have to “give in” and actually create “marketing” that people choose to engage with.

    I invite you to track our progress over at . I believe your opinion and those of your readers would be valuable over there.

  2. Hey Bob. I forgot, a good chunk of our readership is industry folks who question their work. Welcome!

    Admittedly, I haven’t studied your company in detail yet. I’ve been busy with Add-Art. I’m basing my stealthy, manipulative projection on the historic trend I have seen. When advertisers realize people don’t want to see what they do, they have gone in two directions; quantity (more ads in more places, the spray and pray approach) or more manipulative (experiential, user generated content, sponsorships, product placement, etc). Of course, Bob, your company very well could be different. We’ll see!

    However, if you want your work to have meaning, I wonder if selling products will ever do that? Bob, you seem like a smart and articulate guy. Clearly you have what it takes to be successful. I think you’d be great doing communications full time for a non-profit or a cause. What if you left the commercial world and used your skills working to fight the climate crisis. That would be really meaningful! I mean, what are your grandkids going to care about more? That you found a new, less obtrusive way of selling widgets? Or that you helped to avert a global catastrophe that will result in the death of millions?

    Woah, that got heavy for a second. Sorry.

    Bob, as long as we’re exchanging links, check out our Foundation for Freedom. I think you could win. Applications are due September 1st.

  3. Very heavy, but good stuff, Steve. We’ll probably have to agree to disagree on for-profit vs. non-profit, but we both agree on changing the world for the better.

  4. Hey Bob,

    Just jumping in here to say hi! As the ED of the FFF, I’d also urge you to apply for our grant. We’re eager to help folks like you explore new and more rewarding modes of existing in the world. Much as, as Steve pointed out in the above piece, you are helping people to find more financially rewarding ways of marketing in an advertising-saturated world.

    While I, too, see, little difference between the for-profit and not-for profit world, my understanding comes from the basic assumption right now that many not-for-profits, too, are selling widgets and exploiting represented communities in the mode of traditional profit-making enterprises. You seem to have a different view, perhaps that it is possible to change the world, but still make a personal financial profit from it?

    It’s an intriguing notion, and one I invite you to explore from several different angles. The FFF Award will allow you to work among people with drastically different views from your own: people who are changing the world, every day, for the common good. You may find you share more common beliefs with us than you even know!

  5. […] this, Anti Advertising Agency lives up to its name and critiques the critique: “A different type of more stealthy, manipulative message.” (That AAA post has drawn […]

  6. […] Advertising Age: “We Hate Ourselves” This entry was posted in News and tagged Anti-Advertising Agency ← Previous Next → […]

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