The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR [1]

I have finished Part One of this book, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. Al Ries and his daughter Laura present a good argument against advertising with plenty of current, real world examples of exhorbitant spending and pathetic results.

“What strategy does your advertising agency suggest?” we recently asked the CEO of a large client.

“We never ask our agency what to do,” he replied. “We tell them.”

Ouch. The Rieses go on to deliver some depressing figures as well:

Only 10% of executives thought Advertising was important to their company’s success. This ranked just above Legal.

Only 10% of the public (according to a recent Gallup poll) think advertising is honest. That’s right between Insurance Salesmen (11%) and Car Salesmen (9%).

On Advertising Awareness:

The chihuahua didn’t make Taco Bell famous. Taco Bell made the chihuahua famous… The Sock Puppet didn’t make famous.’s money made the Sock Puppet famous… What’s the cause and what’s the effect? Advertising icons seldom cause brands to become famous. But famous brands often cause advertising icons to become famous.

They argue that advertising can only maintain a brand, not build it. Because to build a brand you need integrity, something advertising sorely lacks.

The toughest pill to swallow is advertising’s ROI. Check out these figures for General Motors from 1995 to 2000: They spent a 6 year total of $17.7 billion to go from a 34% market share to 28.1%. Double ouch.

I’ll post more on this book and my thoughts later.


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