In his excellent Direct Creative Blog, Dean Rieck recently posted an insightful article entitled "Reports of the death of advertising as we know it are greatly exaggerated." In the following paragraph, he responds strongly to the now popular idea that disruptive advertising, or advertising that is not controlled by the consumer, is fading away in the Internet age.
“My prediction? People love and respond to advertising far more than they’ll ever admit. And the interruption-disruption model may be tinkered with and modified, but it will never die. Ever. Because no matter what you call it, selling means pushing products. And if you aren’t pushing, you aren’t selling. And if you aren’t selling, you’re out of business.”
Here is my comment to Dean about the unchanging nature of what I choose to call “disruptive marketing.”
About Disruption Dying Out ---
Disruption is fundamental to all communications, not just selling. Every time we ask a question or talk to someone, we are disrupting his thought process or something he is doing.
Think of how the world turns --- the mall-intercept interview, the dog that wants to be petted, the sick child, the gardener knocking on the door for his check, the e-mail asking the recipient to complete a questionnaire and so on. Some interruptions are not pleasant, others are.
That's the way it is with selling products. Some we like and don't mind the interruption and others we don't.
And as you say, this activity is as old as man himself. It will never go away.
If companies ceased disrupting and interrupting, then they would cease selling. But no one ever should think that these disruptive activities are always distasteful.
It is true that some distasteful interruptions are dying out such as door-to-door selling and unwelcome phone calls. These were indeed out of control. But other means of communication like mail and online (except for email) are easily controlled by the customer.
New, distasteful disruptions have come with the growth of new media. Nine out of every ten emails bombard the inboxes with spam and the problem continues to grow in size and complexity. And the Internet has enabled identity theft to grow to epidemic proportions.
So things are changing, but consumers are hardly getting more control over every aspect of their new age lives.