Back to basics

George Tannenbaum was thinking about advertising the other day.

Thinking about what a hot mess advertising has become. About how the industry has forgotten the basics.

How advertising should connect with people, provide them with useful information and persuade them to buy. The best ads have always done this.

Get attention. Communicate. Persuade.

The best stories, sweet nothings, and jokes do this as well. And the best brands - and the people we like - follow this discipline over and again to make themselves likeable.

That’s advertising. Good, basic advertising. There’s nothing complicated or complicit about it. Nothing confusing.

Good, basic advertisements don’t lie. They don’t bait and switch. They don’t asterisk. They don’t dumb down. They don’t shout. They don’t make meaningless promises.

They don’t insult your intelligence. They don’t roll out tired cliches that make no one laugh unless they’re sitting in an agency conference room.

They don’t force you to opt-in, accept cookies, unsubscribe when you never subscribed in the first place.

They don’t pretend they’re serving you by chasing you down like a bloodhound after a prison break.

They don’t ask you useless questions, keep you on hold, make it difficult to get help.

They don’t have fourteen times as much legal copy as non-legal copy.

And more half-truths than sentences.

It’s time to get back to basics.

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