Other Advertising Stuff ... or... The Fringe World of Mainstream Advertising


How Do You Sell Cheese?

A few months ago, someone I know, virtually at least, posted a simple question about the difference between advertising and marketing on his blog.

It occured to me that a number of years ago I myself didn't have the faintest idea how the two differed. Odd that I was actually working in Marketing, and I still am.

I guess I've learned a lot in the intervening years:

I know how you sell cheese.

Here was my response to Luke:

I mostly inhabit the strange netherworld between marketing and advertising.

Marketing is the idea, the strategy, and the look and feel, the Brand. It works hand-in-hand with product development and positioning.

Advertising is the come-on. It's the slave to the marketing. It dresses up in the clothes that marketing designed and makes the pitch. It drives the sales.
So, Marketing creates your profile. Advertising posts it with your picture on the internet.

Marketing decides you need to work out more and figures out which colors you look best in; it assesses where you fit in and decides where you'd really rather look like you fit in. It studies the competition and how to beat them. It creates the wardrobe. It crafts the personality and develops the brand.

Advertising shows up at the party wearing the little black dress. It buys someone a drink and dances with them. It puts the offer on the table. Or the billboard or the 30-second spot.

So, Great Cheese Comes From Happy Cows, right? Marketing is the process of deciding to distinguish California Cheese from the rest, to create the look and feel of the packaging and how to display it at the store, and to develop the whole idea that California Cheese rocks.

Advertising airs commercials with cows talking like surfers and hanging out on spectacular sunny California hillsides. It tries to make you go buy the happy cheese instead of the uptight cheese.

That was most of it, anyway.

For the most part, you're either in Marketing, or you're in Advertising. You're not often in both, unless like me you have a little company and you're also in Management, Maintenence, Accounting, I.T., Transportation, H.R., and Custodial, too.


Best & Worst Marketing Ideas of 2005

From Brandweek comes the best and worst marketing ideas of 2005:

In the last 12 months, marketing took place against a backdrop of events
that shook the world, from the tsunami disaster to Hurricane Katrina to fears of
avian bird flu and momentous change in Iraq. It’s worth reminding ourselves
that, at its best or worst, marketing can only accomplish so much.

True. I'm in the direct focused marketing camp so my view is that you can taylor your promotional marketing to do as much as you want it to.

Dancing Breaks Out

Someone walks into your store, and stands before your window facing the street.

Dancing breaks out. Well, first the jumping jacks. Then some signage and some pointing, laying down, standing up, then the dancing. Roughly in that order.

A crowd gathers. Laughing, clapping, and photography spring up from nowhere on a nothing evening.

Your security force throws out the dancer(s). Everything goes back to normal.

That was a close one.


There is a fine line between the chaos and choreography of everyday life, and Art. Art can either look contrived and pressed, or it can spring forth from simple imagery and clever timing. Advertising too. Good advertising takes advantage of the surprise element in any message, or rather, in the medium used for the message. The TV commercial that catches your attention is usually the one that bucked the trend, stepped outside of the strictures of the standard TV commercial specs. The promotional product that gets you the most return on your investment has done the same thing.

This group, Improv Everywhere, is sort of a guerrila performance art troupe staging events on the streets in front of whatever lucky passersby, well, pass by.

Some art is for art's sake. Advertising is purpose driven, of course. These guys have added an advertising sensibility to an ironic purposelessness, and come up with Art.

There's something to be said for just making a scene.