Risk Aversion is Risky Business for Marketers and Agencies

Rance Crain of AdAge has a pretty good piece today reflecting on a supposedly growing problem of risk-averse marketers, he concludes:

What worries me most here is that the play-it-safe attitude of the ad industry is indicative of bigger problems. U.S. companies, and the U.S. economy, have prospered because they were willing to take chances. We innovated, we challenged, and the result was perpetual renewal of our system. Let’s free advertising from the tyranny of trepidation and timidity.

Risk-aversion is an extreme challenge for marketers, perhaps the most fundamental. But advertising’s problem is not tyranny of trepidation and timidity. Perhaps I’m getting caught up in semantics, but advertising’s problem is just that: advertising. At a time when mere exposure is increasingly meaningless and commoditized, attention and patience are dwindling, and trust in institutions is eroding, it would seem to me that advertising – purchased media, shoveled in and shoveled out – is exactly the problem.


Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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