• Devin Manuel

Advertising's Basic Purpose

"The only purpose of advertising is to make sales...

...It is not for general effect. It is not to keep your name before the people."

Scientific Advertising | Claude Hopkins

That was written in 1923. Many advertisers know of Claude Hopkins as the prophet of advertising, preceding Ogilvy by some fifty years and having being referenced by him numerous times in his most famous book "Confessions of an Advertising Man."

In practice, Hopkins' law holds up. There is no reason to advertise unless it can justify itself and generate revenue beyond what it spends. It must be profitable.

Anything that classifies itself as advertising that doesn't share the above purpose is therefore not advertising but sponsored content.

If an advertising strategy or program is not generating revenue, scrap it. Alter it, make it fit the purpose - make it make money.

Apple, Coke, Microsoft, Amazon... these brands make ads that some rookie advertisers think are just there to keep their name in front of the audience. But in reality, they are calculated. They won't run the same ad twice if there isn't traceable revenue generated by it that outweighs the investment in the ad itself.

Since the digital age began to dominate advertising, the field became muddled. "Techniques" and "strategies" were developed that had nothing to do with the core of what advertising is. These techniques and strategies were simply different ways to push different buttons on the ad placement platform's interface. Advertising has to do with the audience, the copy, and how you communicate with them. How do you move them? How do you get them to take action? What do you say? That is advertising. The art plays a role, the design is important. But the message and communication are superior in importance.

Advertising is creative, it takes a mind, it requires thought. There is no guesswork involved. It is very calculated and exact. Once there is an answer to "What do we say to Move the audience and how should we say it?" there isn't much else left to do besides ensuring it gets on the right channel in front of the right people.

I can have the most advanced AI advertising technology on the planet but my ads would still fall on deaf ears if they don't resonate with the audience.

Treat your audience like they are right in front of you. Ask yourself if your ads would be something you would show them. Would it help you sell? What would Move your audience to take action, because at the end that is the purpose of why you advertise. To Move People.

The bigger the company, the more calculated the advertising becomes. In the beginning, a company wants to get its name out there, but they are desperate for sales. At the $100M+ level, companies formulate exact strategies and campaigns that are well-calculated based on the audience they know very well.

But what if the $100M+ company doesn't have such a strategy? I would suggest keeping in mind this one point - make it make money.

Devin Manuel | VP Marketing at Richter10.2 Media Group