Nobody Reads Ads

I just read this Guest Essay from the 2004 Gunn Report by Fred & Farid. There’s some really interesting stuff in there. I particularly like the way that they talk about consumers:

The marketing strategy talks to the consumers; but we are not consumers! The only place and moment when we think like a consumer is when we are in the supermarket. The rest of the time, we are not consumers. We do not think like consumers. We are not Targets; that is even more stupid. We are an audience. We are viewers. We are spectators of a huge media show.

But for me it was this quote, by Howard Gossage, that really stood out from the whole essay:

Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it is an ad.

In a post-schedule, non-linear world these are some of the truest words I ever read. Have a read of the essay, there’s definitely some good bits.

9 thoughts on “Nobody Reads Ads”

  1. Howard Gossage was a genius. Completely ahead of his time. If you can find any of his stuff you should read it, you’d love it.

  2. Maybe I should try a library. Now there’s a place I haven’t been in a long time…

  3. First thing: It’s worth it, it’s brilliant and you’ve reminded me I don’t have a copy. But I know a man who does so I can see if he’ll lend you one if you like.

    Second thing: I just spent the afternoon at the British Library and that too is brilliant. Getting a reading pass is easy and they seem to have every book in the world ever.

    Well worth it.

    Third thing: I’m over your way tomorrow afternoon. Fancy a coffee or anything?

  4. Aaaah, you’ve just reminded me that I lent my Gossage book to a friend. I remember reading it and thinking this guy is brilliant – launching a magazine by having a competition to design the best paper airplane!. He even discovered McLuhan….

    I’m getting on the phone now to track it down.

  5. I posted about the Book of Gossage on Russell’s site the other day… Yes it is expensive… You should try the Web sites of some of the specialists in out of print books. Don’t forget, Amazon merely acts as a middle man for these people so there must be some kind of mark-up involved. And even if you end up paying 75 quid… It’s worth more than any ten Award Annuals that will just sit on a shelf. This you will read and re-read. My copy is dog eared and full of beer stains and fag burns… But I’ll never give it up.
    Cheers/George

  6. Thanks George – I made the leap and got it a few weeks ago from the US. It was through Amazon and I’m sure I paid a few dollars extra, but at the end of the day it cost less than night of drinking.

    I’ve only had a chance to skim bits of it so far. But I can already see why it changes hands for a lot of money!

  7. First thing: It's worth it, it's brilliant and you've reminded me I don't have a copy. But I know a man who does so I can see if he'll lend you one if you like.

    Second thing: I just spent the afternoon at the British Library and that too is brilliant. Getting a reading pass is easy and they seem to have every book in the world ever.

    Well worth it.

    Third thing: I'm over your way tomorrow afternoon. Fancy a coffee or anything?

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