I love advertising. I always have and I imagine I always will. There’s something really interesting about telling a compelling story in such a short period of time. Over the years, advertisers have convinced me to purchase a great number of things. I’ve purchased the new flavour of Doritos because the TV told me to. I’ve played the newest video game because the TV told me to. But there’s a limit to my love.

Lately, I’ve been following the trend of social media advertising. I don’t own a traditional television subscription so any ads that I view are online. And there have been some really great ones. There’ve been a number of products over the past few months that I’ve decided to check out based on some well-crafted Instagram ads. But as much as I am a fan of great advertising, don’t get it twisted. A great ad means nothing if it’s attached to a shitty product. And lately, while I’ve seen some really solid ads, I’ve also seen some really shitty products.

I never understand the game plan with shitty products advertised well. I mean, it boils down to the idea that you just shouldn’t sell shitty products. And I’m not just talking about poorly manufactured products using substandard materials. I’m also talking about the largest industry in the world; information. The more that I see people pushing their master classes and their “one way to make eight figures in the next 30 minutes” the more I want to throw the internet across the room.

Previously I’ve spoken about the effects of putting a nice face over top of a garbage fire product. We see it all the time. And here’s the real problem with terrible advertising; it works.

People. Click. On. Everything. From Nigerian princes offering large sums of money to big dick pills to master classes in internet marketing domination. People. Click. On. Everything.

So what’s the solution? The long game.

Everyone is working on playing the short game. It’s about 10x. It’s about virality. It’s about ROI. We create marketing campaigns to try to instantaneously change the ebb and flow of the tides. It seems pretty glamorous. We see people buying cars with wing doors and houses with infinity pools that waterfall into fountains that shoot into infinity pools. It looks pretty awesome. About that.

It’s possible. It can happen. But do you know how many of these instant millionaires lose everything as fast as they gain it? But that’s what we want, right? We want instantaneous results with as little work as possible. We are all looking for the thing that comes after the thing. We’re looking past building a business and into retirement. We’re looking past building a brand and towards and exit strategy.

How does this taint our ad strategy? Simple. We create ads to trick people into buying products and services that they don’t require. We convince people to buy something once but we don’t think of what happens after they buy. We don’t think about whether we’re ending the sales process or beginning a customer relationship. If we did, then we would hammer out the product before making a killer social media marketing campaign. We would make sure that we knew what we were doing before we swore up and down that we knew what we were doing.

So by all means, make that kick ass ad. But first, build that kick ass product.

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