Mad Men of Digital Advertising


Mad Men of the 1950’s advertising industry ushered in a golden age for marketing, but they also made a lot of enemies. Consumerism is defined as the “promotion of interests of the consumer”, but most marketing teams at the time didn’t fully comprehend what that meant. They told us that their products were in our best interest, instead of letting us learn on our own. 

For example, 7UP put out advertisements that recommended their soda to infants. The ad reads, “this young man is 11 months old – and he isn’t our youngest customer by any means”. 

7up Ad

Camel is another frequently cited example of this practice. They suggested that, “more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette”. Newspapers and magazines were popular mediums for this brand of advertising from 1930 to the 1960’s, but TV quickly changed these practices. 

A written advertisement with outlandish claims was easy to pass off. However, a real person on the television recommending a product in your living room? That was something entirely different. Celebrities we recognized and loved could now explain why a specific product works to our benefit. As a result, the advertising industry exploded.

Today, a similar paradigm shift is taking place. Almost every content company, media site, and television network follows this formula: produce articles and videos that are free to consume, then bundle them with advertisements that cost money to buy. However, it’s the content we trust – not the advertisements. 

YouTube has a free model that plays ads. A viewer could watch a makeup aficionado review mascara brands. In between these videos, the person would be forced to watch an advertisement. Even if the influencer is pitching a different mascara as the advertisement – which content do you believe the viewer will trust more? The influencer’s video? Or the advertisement interrupting your time with that influencer? 

Content allows us to learn on our own. Good content educates.

If you read a blog from BMW that explains why BMW is the best car in the world – you have to take it with a grain of salt, right? It’s in their financial interest to say they make the best vehicles. Such claims are less believable in a consumer’s eyes. Companies must figure out how to avoid bias if they wish to create content that sells. With all these company-sponsored blogs, who can people trust? 

Consumers place their trust in key opinion leaders and influencers. By definition, their sway can drive a specific action. Influence is “the capacity to have an effect on the development or behavior of someone”. Today’s consumers aren’t buying items they see in product placement from the latest James Patterson novel. Image and video content have the most impact.

Organizations consistently see marketing success when commerce and content meet. As Amazon introduced their review system, financial pundits first assumed Bezos was crazy. Why would anybody intentionally introduce customers to negative product reviews? 

Simple – reviews helped people make well-informed decisions. Consumers seek content that educates before they make said decisions. If they can’t find it, there is less incentive to buy.

There was always an online gap between helpful information and the content that companies use to sell. Amazon placed both on the same page quite a long time ago. So how does this translate to video content today?

Influencers can now blend content and commerce within their videos. AiBUY’s proprietary technology can allow influencer videos to be a blended and integrated purchasing experience directly from the video itself. Viewers never have to leave the page and can even checkout with Google Pay and Apple Pay. 

Spend some time thinking about your organization’s current content and commerce strategy. You might find Don Draper’s blunt advice helpful here – “That’s not a strategy, that’s two strategies connected by the word ‘and’”. 

It’s no longer content and commerce. Rather, successful companies now use ‘content commerce’. AiBUY technology has blended these two concepts into one singular strategy that leads to a direct purchasing path. The sales paradigm has shifted. Has your business shifted, too?


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