Adobe's Ad Baloney
I came across this full-page ad from Adobe one Wednesday morning in The New York Times Business Section and also The Wall Street Journal.
Below is the full text of this full-page broadsheet ad—all 42 words of copy:
Marketing works, and we can prove it.
With Adobe® Marketing Cloud, you
get a complete set of integrated
solutions: analytics, social,
advertising, targeting, and
Go from data to insights
faster than ever
ADOBE & MARKETING
Follow us @AdobeMktgCloud
"Marketing is not BS," said Emma Chalwin, brand marketing director of Adobe in her explanation of the ad, and it is "time to dispel this myth."
She continued, "For too long, marketing has been misunderstood, undervalued and seen as a soft profession, which has too much guesswork and doesn't provide too much impact on business strategy and bottom-line results."
Adobe spent $529,885 to reach a combined circulation of 2.3 million readers of the Times and the Journal. They spend many of billions of dollars a year on marketing to acquire customers, clients or donors. To them, this ad is a total non sequitur.
Without marketing, none of them would have a business and they know it.
Note to Adobe creatives: if you want to win over people who think that marketing is bullshit, it won't happen using just 42 words of highly technical terminology that would be understood only by hard-core digital marketers. To non-marketers, this is gibberish.
The entire premise of this Adobe effort is a preposterous.
After a lifetime in the business, I can now boil down everything I have learned about advertising to three simple pieces of advice:
- It pays to spend money on being relevant—making sure you are talking to the right people and irritating as few others as possible.
- "I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information. When I write an advertisement, I don't want you to tell me that you find it 'creative.' I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product. When Aeschines spoke, they said, 'How well he speaks.' But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, 'Let us march against Philip.'" —David Ogilvy
- Frame over your desk in large type the following paragraph by the late, great copy master Vic Schwab from his book, "How to Write a Good Advertisement": The copywriter's aim in life should be to try to make it harder for people to pass up his advertisement than to read it.
More on Advertising
A company's advertising is its public face. With this campaign, Adobe has smeared its public face.
"When you once get a person's attention, then is the time to accomplish all you can ever hope with him. Bring all your good arguments to bear. Cover every phase of your subject. One fact appeals to some, one to another." —Claude Hopkins
"The object of advertising is to sell goods. It has no other justification worth mentioning." —Raymond Rubicam
When you are spending money for advertising, it is imperative to close the loop—make a strong offer and have a response mechanism that allows you to measure the effectiveness of the campaign. No response means no measurement, no ROI. Wasted money.
Institutional, brand or image advertising that has no offer and gives no reason to respond is like peeing in blue serge. It makes you feel warm all over and nobody notices.
Okay, so why did Adobe blow $529,885 on the wrong message to 2.3 million people?
My bet: a scheming advertising agency—greedy for commission money—conned a consummately dumb client hoping for personal publicity into agreeing with this idiocy. Adobe stockholders should be furious.