February 7, 2009

Who Says No One Watches Commercials Anymore? Ads Move iPhone Apps

by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango LLC + Multimedia Marketer

I hear it all the time:

“Advertising is a waste of money.”
“If you have a great product, you don’t need to advertise.”
“Word of mouth is more effective than traditional media.”
“It’s impossible to cut through the clutter.”
“Most consumers tune out or TiVo past commercials.”

While these declarations might be true in some cases, many bullheaded companies still invest millions in advertising — and not just during the Super Bowl when everyone pays attention to the commercials.

Are these companies just clueless losers stuck in the past? I don’t know — would you describe Apple that way?

Apple might be the only Silicon Valley company that grasps the value of great advertising. Want proof that Apple’s ads are working? MacRumors.com reports that the iPhone app “Classics” enjoyed a 600% sales surge after being featured in an Apple commercial.

I guess App buyers aren’t so fixated with their iPhones that they don’t watch television anymore.

This follows the slew of pop artists, such as Feist, who have enjoyed major career boosts after getting the Apple spotlight.

So, yes, there’s truly a lot to be gained from exploiting new technologies and new media — which Apple knows a few things about — but there’s also a lot to be said for basic television. That old dog is still doing the trick.

Conclusion? It’s not advertising that’s a waste of money — it’s bad advertising.
Some companies know the difference.

Update 2/26/9: Advertising Age (subscription required) just reported on “a growing body of evidence which suggests not only that TV advertising still works, but that may be working better than ever.” Among several studies the article cites is one Ball State University study that discovered “TV remains the dominant medium even for reaching youth, despite the inroads of digital and social media.” Add to that the fact that more people are staying home to watch TV than ever, thanks to the recession, and TV may actually become more attractive. One key caveat from the article: “creative quality makes a big difference, in many cases explaining more about success and failure than media choices.” So before launching your next ad campaign, be sure to consult a marketing agency that knows what it’s doing.

Related Article: “Viral” Does Not Mean “Free”: The Reality Behind The Buzz

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

One Response

  1. I agree with you 100%. I was the one that said word of mouth is better. Often it is, but its not enough! When I started advertising on line, even with a limited budget, I saw results and the response I get is worth what I spent!

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