Most Advertising Is Wasted; How To Avoid That | Greg Hoyos



By Greg Hoyos

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday April 19, 2018 – “I know that half my advertising is wasted; I just don’t know which half” is one of the seminal tenets in advertising. It contains a core of truth which is worth exploring.

The proportion of advertising which is wasted starts with the advertiser. It comes when they think that all they need do is shout slogans which they consider interesting, and consumers will immediately listen to their words, and buy their products.

Well, we all wish that were true. But it’s not.

Consumers are smart people and they do not trust advertising to tell them about the world. They know, from real-life experience, which products and brands they like and which ones they buy most often. Advertising is wasted unless it conforms to their view of the world. Advertising’s main role is to support what people already know.

So just because advertisers think something is important, does not mean that consumers agree. They are experts at filtering out and ignoring messages which don’t conform to their beliefs. Good consumer research will tell you what messages to send and how to express them. The result will be cuts in wastage.

The other big way to waste ad money is to rely predominantly on mass media. We all know that mass audiences are a thing of the past. People today have so many more choices – from multiple TV channels to a myriad of radio stations to countless web-pages, emails and blogs.

The fact is that audiences have shifted – and continue to shift – and companies are probably firing many bullets into an empty field. Result: advertising is underperforming.

A little bit of pre-planning goes a long way in avoiding advertising and media wastage.

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Greg Hoyos is founder and chairman at GHA DDB. He started his first regional ad agency in 1970; has won five CLIOs (including the 1979 Worldwide Copywriting statue) and numerous Caribbean ADDYs; and is the author of ‘Marketing and Demand’ and ‘A History of Marketing in 32 Objects’. He can be reached at (246) 234-4110 or