Fifty years ago, consumers were fiercely loyal to products ranging from cars to colas. That loyalty was frequently baseless and often passed from one generation to the next. If I drove a Chevy, so would my offspring, and for years, the three U.S. automakers counted on it. When a variety of better-made, inexpensive imports arrived in the 1980s, GM, Ford, and Chrysler never saw them coming, because they never thought their customers would go elsewhere.
Over the past several decades, new technology has always replaced its predecessor. Video streaming replaced DVDs, which replaced VHS; digital audio files and streaming replaced CDs, which replaced cassettes and vinyl; iPods replaced the Walkman; cell phones replaced land lines; smartphones replaced dumb phones; and online news is in the process of replacing newspapers. Yet, through all these advancements and the obsolescence of many old technologies, radio and television have survived. Radio has been with us for nearly 100 years, and television debuted almost 80 years ago. Why are these tech dinosaurs still here?
It’s estimated that Americans are exposed to 5,000 advertisements per day. If you’re 30 years old, your brain has processed over 54 million ads. With that type of exposure, advertising is something with which we’re all familiar. We all know about advertising agencies too, thanks to shows like Mad Men. However, they say familiarity breeds contempt, and what many people think about advertising and ad agencies may be based on false impressions and fabricated ideas fraught with fiction and myth.