I recently read a report which illustrated Global Advertising Spend in USD for 2012.
Spend in each and every media type from Newspapers to Digital, required an axis scale in Billions ($). As charts go, this one was quite sobering; Billions of Dollars are spent every year on persuading humans to “ad vertere” or “turn towards” something.
It has been happening for centuries, and shows no rate of slowing.
Academics, advertising historians or curious Googlers will all be able to speak of various versions of where advertising began.
Some would suggest Egyptian Hieroglyphics were the original JCDecaux, others may cite the handbill in the 1400’s which advertised a prayer book. Or what about the first ever TV ad, airing during a 1940’s baseball game? The shakey “Bulova” wrist-watch logo shuffled onto the screen looking as if it was being held by an exhausted toddler, while a confident voice exclaimed “America runs on Bulova time!”.
The inherent theme throughout all of these examples is that Advertising is pliable; as a form of communication it molds to the zeitgeist of the time, seeping into the newly formed cracks, and is often one of the first communication forms to do so.
If we apply a simplified, chronological list of society’s technological advancements on which advertising has capitalised, we have; (1) Print (2) Transport (3) Audio Broadcast (4) Visual Broadcast (5) Online (6) Social Media.
Whatever advancements we have experienced as a human race, advertising has remained at the bleeding edge, constantly turning our attention towards something new; this offers the juicy question, where does it go next?
In my opinion, the latest episode “Social Media” is nearing saturation, from both an end-user perspective as well as the potential of return for a client.
So, as technology converges into the science fiction-like age of “Wearable” and “Human Tech”, (microchip implants, Google Glasses, Samsung Galaxy Gear etc.) will the advertising industry have its place as it has in the past? Or will people feel that, no matter how personal and tailored the messaging, they need rest bite from being asked to turn their attention towards something…?