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Advertising vs. word-of-mouth marketing

Joel is right when he says that advertising is largely ineffective.  Consider this inadvertently ironic magazine ad for Bailey's Irish Cream:

http://www.astrocyte-design.com/interests/word-of-mouth.html

Joel seems to imply that editorial marketing is the only effective alternative to conventional advertising.  I'm not sure that this is true (though I suppose it depends on how you define "editorial").  Word-of-mouth marketing is extremely effective.

"Oh, but that only works for small mom-and-pop businesses", you say.  Not true.  Consider, for example, the entertainment industry.

The 1996 movie, "Independence Day" received mostly bad reviews, but it became one of the largest-grossing films of all time.  Currently, "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding" is making lots of money despite the absence of advertising.  Not even the Spielberg marketing machine could save "A.I", his flop from last year.  Word-of-mouth is very influential in determining the success and failure of movies, and many other products as well.

(Incidentally, none of this was taught in my business school classes.  MBAs are over-rated, and I ought to know.)

Alex Chernavsky
Friday, September 13, 2002

Then the future should be interesting...
The small will compete against the big on equal terms because how much you can spend on adverts is nolonger a factor.

Now, if only people learned to ignore unfair OEM deals...

Eric DeBois
Friday, September 13, 2002

You're MBA didn't have 'Guerilla Marketing' as one of the required texts?  Levinson wrote the book on word of mouth.

pr monkey
Friday, September 13, 2002

Gimme a break. Tell P&G, Coke, McDonalds, Budweiser, etc., etc., etc. that advertising doesn't work. Sheesh.

pb
Friday, September 13, 2002

"Consider this inadvertently ironic magazine ad"

I wouldn't want to bet that it was *inadvertently* ironic. One of the key themes in advertising these days promoting the idea that the product is not the object of marketing hype. The Sprite ads ('Image is nothing') are just the most obvious example of this. Naomi Klein has more on this.

David Clayworth
Friday, September 13, 2002

pb wrote: "Gimme a break. Tell P&G, Coke, McDonalds, Budweiser, etc., etc., etc. that advertising doesn't work."

I was *going* to tell them, but I was afraid that Saatchi & Saatchi would take out a contract on me.

Seriously, I bet that if someone made you God, and you could see into the hearts and minds of all consumers everywhere, you'd calculate that the majority of conventional advertising campaigns have a negative return on investment.

Alex Chernavsky
Friday, September 13, 2002

Advertisement will work till judgement day cause 99% of people are clueless, unintelligent and DUMB

ad guru who kicks serious ass
Friday, September 13, 2002

Dot coms were such a new paradigm that they didn't need to make a profit. Luckily, now that they are out of cash, they don't have to advertise. Dang those new paradigms.

Until drinking a bud is the same experience as drinking no-name beer, there will be advertising, and it will work.

Robin Debreuil
Friday, September 13, 2002

Robin Debreuil wrote, "Until drinking a bud is the same experience as drinking no-name beer..."

<quote>
DRINKERS have long suspected it, but now French researchers have finally proved it: wine “experts” know no more than the rest of us.

Their rituals as they pronounce judgment have been revealed as little more than self-delusion by an awardwinning French study. They base their views as much on colour and labels as upon a wine’s bouquet and flavour.

[snip]
</quote>

http://cognation.mit.edu/~webb/aesthetics/wine.html

Alex Chernavsky
Friday, September 13, 2002

[Advertisement will work till judgement day cause 99% of people are clueless, unintelligent and DUMB ]

Yes, and the advertisements play on this knowledge. How many times have you seen and ad for a product that tries to distinguish themselves by saying "You go against the grain. You do not go along with the masses. You are not a lemming. You are smart. Now buy this and you'll prove it"

Volkswagen, Audi, Nike, Mountain Dew, Compaq,  Apple (the worst offender), etc...

I say you are not smart, you are dumb. I am dumb. But we can be dumb together and enjoy shiny bubbles. Lets go spend all of our paycheck on something at the mall. We'll buy shiny shirts and shiny hair cuts. Lets buy two huge gass guzzling overpriced pieces of shit with woodgrain steering wheels and drive them while yelling into our new light up cellphones with attachable dick/mic "Dude you're gettin a... can you hear me now... bleep bleep bleep".

trollbooth
Friday, September 13, 2002

as long as media is there we, corporate ad gurus, will suck money and eventually blood out of you. With TV, radio and the internet we can sell any product, any idea any poitical agenda, cause believe me north americans are the most ignorant people of all and I am glad abou it big time.

ad guru who kicks serious ass
Friday, September 13, 2002

ad guru -- do you think for one second any of us actually beleive you're in advertising?

Troy King
Friday, September 13, 2002

You think advertising doesn't work?  What the hell do you think this whole web site is for?  Do you think Joel would write his articles and provide a forum for discussion if he wasn't selling something?

C'mon guys, advertising is not always a page in a magazine.

Agnus Moorehead
Friday, September 13, 2002

[cause believe me north americans are the most ignorant people of all and I am glad abou it big time. ]


I am glad about it big time also my friend. And let me tell you this - shoot the moon, I want to speak to sampson.


few things gave you away
1. Your terrible fucking grammar. You sound like you are issuing a demand from a cave. I'm no grammar nitty nit picker but I would hope any marketing wiz would pay special attention to this.

2. You want to suck blood eventually. Real ad gurus hope that the money will never end. A dead consumer does not generate revenue.

3. You refer to the North Americans as people. They are not people - A truly hard core ad guru would refer to them as the target market or demographic.


kicking serious ass? no. kicking serious bullshit is more like it. "Saatchi & Saatchi you are not my friend and let me tell you this I will be big time celebrating by showing my polish decent with the wrath of duck polkas and furious drinking of beer"

trollbooth
Friday, September 13, 2002

Agnus wrote: "You think advertising doesn't work?"

I think that _conventional_ advertising doesn't work (or doesn't work very well, anyway).  I don't consider JoelOnSoftware to be an example of conventional advertising.

Alex Chernavsky
Friday, September 13, 2002

Hey trollbooth

Does that bother you that I explain the crux of the matter? does that bother you that I can sell anything to you simply because you're (as a targetted segment) able to distinguish good from bad.

I love this line from the movie "boilerroom".

"I can sell to anyone, anywhere, anytime just give me the fucking phone number"

And as for my fricken grammar. Dude I am a strategist, we hire ad writer for what 50k-70k? wanna be one?

ad guru who kicks serious ass
Friday, September 13, 2002

Well typo:

Meant you are not able to distinguish. Pardon my grammar ;-)

ad guru who kicks serious ass
Friday, September 13, 2002

[And as for my fricken grammar. Dude I am a strategist, we hire ad writer for what 50k-70k? wanna be one? ]

Oh please gimme a job in your show ricky, I sware I wont mess up this time!

trollbooth
Friday, September 13, 2002

I think joel is mainly talking about big ticket items, and unknown ones at that, and mostly in the software industry, not ALL advertising. There are a number of areas where I think advertising is quite successfull:
Lawyers, Resteraunts, Doctors, Insurance Companies, Car Dealers, Dry Cleaners, Stores of different kinds all DO advertise successfully, and draw customers that way. The reason they can do this is that a customer is not always making a committment by calling on these businesses (even most lawyers don't have sales teams like oracle) and because switching is easy (think about it do you ask your friends EVERY time you want to try a new resteraunt, or EVERY time you go to a hardware store), in many cases the customer doesn't care where they  buy an item/service as long as its convenient/ of reasonable quality (think dry cleaners, barber shop) and , and for this purpose advertising serves not so much to distinguish as inform.
So, in society at large, where most services/retailers are generic I think advertising does lure customers

Daniel Shchyokin
Saturday, September 14, 2002

Not sure how many people here live in the bay area, but for those of us who do, don't you think it is stupid what BEA is doing with advertising? I mean putting their ads on top of cabs. As if more than 2-3% of the people who see these ads know what bea does.

Daniel Shchyokin
Saturday, September 14, 2002

Doesn't BEA sell Java Enterprise Middleware (tm)?  I assume their biggest problem is making people think they're as ubiquitous as certain other 3-letter companies...

Sammy
Saturday, September 14, 2002

Yep, but who cares what "people" think, they don't make consumer products! SAS is virtually unheard of, because they don't waste their money on stupidity like this

Daniel Shchyokin
Saturday, September 14, 2002

I think BEA focuses on San Francisco because thats a mecca for Java developers - Java World.

trollbooth
Sunday, September 15, 2002

> Yep, but who cares what "people" think, they don't make
> consumer products!

The people who are potential customers care.  Maybe the salesguys complained that no one believed they had a large company, especially since their name sounds like someone's grandmother's.  So they want to make sure everyone's neighbor has heard of them.

Oracle has a large ad campaign, and so does IBM for servers.  (I'm guessing -- I only download ads now.)  Plus from what I hear, Java enterprise middleware companies have to fight to differentiate themselves, because of strict compliance with Sun's standards.

That said, I've heard next to nothing about BEA, so I'm guessing they'll make an appearance on fuckedcompany or be bought out.  They're being attacked from below by JBoss, as well as IBM and Sun.

Sammy
Sunday, September 15, 2002

I do know something about bea, and JBoss is not their only problem as they have to contend with tomcat as well, they are miles ahead of Sun or Websphere, but look what I am saying is this- their product appears only on the server side, they do not have a consumer product, so the only place they have to convince people is in the development/technical management community as almost all "users" do not even know what a web-site is using and don't care so why wouln't bea concentrate even more on sponsoring o'reilly book projects, trade journal articles etc ... rather than taxi cab ads which are a total waste of money ... BEA makes a good product they are not losers but somewhere in that company is a rotten apple of a marketer thinking "Ah, with enough 'image' advertising, we can make consumers demand web-sites switch from Websphere to Weblogic, and that will never happen in a million years. The only way image advertising helps is if a company has consumer oriented products, and as far as I know bea doesn't

Daniel Shchyokin
Sunday, September 15, 2002

Alex C - ID4 had sod-all word of mouth that I heard of.

What it had was a killer teaser trailer which showed the Empire State being blown up and a car somersaulting down the street towards the camera - BANG - black screen - end of trailer. Audience full of people silently vowing I MUST SEE THAT MOVIE.

If that isn't successful advertising, what is?

DB
Monday, September 16, 2002

What it had was a killer teaser trailer which showed the Empire State being blown up and a car somersaulting down the street towards the camera - BANG - black screen - end of trailer. Audience full of people silently vowing I MUST SEE THAT MOVIE.

If that isn't successful advertising, what is?



Perfect advertising.....

assassin
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

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