In Search of Manufactured Good

As might have been expected I have been considering advertising recently. 

This is not unexpected. We are immersed in an atmosphere – fairly toxic – of advertisement these days. So naturally to notice and think upon.

I freely admit that I am not the demographic. Mostly I am too old for advertisements other than those for burial insurance, medicare goods, or treatments thereof. And courtesy of the sitting congress we can expect those to diminish with the funding for medical matters.

I am also moderately sentient and observant. Advertisers hate nerds for the same reason district attorneys do. We question and analyze and generally find the contradictions that compromise everything.

Also, I am the one who first declared that every advertisement contains at least one prevarication.

So I might as well proceed.

It is not that I do not expect manufactured goods to have limitations and even defects. But I have Willis and Geiger clothing that I have owned for almost thirty years – obviously – that is in better shape used than things I buy from their successors today.

Willis and Geiger was a company of great quality; it made aviator jackets for the Yankee Navy going back to when they got their first airplane with wheels. And they maintained that quality until they were bought by another company to reduce its competition.

That’s an indicator of the nature of the contemporary marketplace. It’s stressed. Every day old companies are going away because their management made the wrong decisions on a learned time scale too slow for modern competition. Or they are made irrelevant by the rapid changing wants of humans.

This stress gets reflected in the advertisements. Evidently some advertising types have enormous difficulty presenting the product. If the product isn’t presented then the “rubes” have no visual association and can’t be trusted to actually buy what the advertising is pushing. So a lot of advertisements have these vignettes where they present the product but one gets alienated a few seconds into the vignette wondering why the people in the advertisement are acting in such a strange way. Result: net loss to the manufacturer since people who see this and note the cockeyedness are not positive about the product.

A somewhat bigger problem seems to be an inability to distinguish one’s product from its competitors. This is especially the situation with motorcars. In effect, all motorcar advertisements are identical except for a brand + product that is indistinguishable from its competitors.

Another problem is making some claim that fails the “so what” test immediately and the audience is left trying to figure out the strategy of explicit, apparently intentional, failure. May work in England but not in the Yankee Republic.

Lastly, promises. Given the environment we live in these days, especially governmental, the baseline is that any positive statement is a prevarication and any negative statement is a threat. So how does this incentivize?  

My speculation is that we may have reached the point where the marketplace is running on a form of inertia. People have been ducking advertisements for years. Ad blockers in browsers have now reached the point where the use of an ad blocker blocker by a web site cuts into its traffic. Never mind paywall, ad wall wall seems to be a crypt construction. Meanwhile lots of people seem to operate on a buy-the-same-old-thing until they get fed up with its wrongs and then experiment with random selection. This seems to explain why companies repackage their goods ever couple of months. 

What makes the latter intriguing is that it upsets the cross diffusion flow. For years companies have leveraged the marginal populations that give up on one product and go to another. Since most products are staples of imagination if not actuality, the advertising emphasis is on capturing these changers. The problem now seems to be that this population has become immune to the advertising. Maybe.

Meanwhile, the companies continue to be oblivious to any idea that quality may be a better strategy than whackadoodle advertisements.