Is Advertising Dead as we Know It?

Developed by Digidrop


I doubt that many radio presenters would consider taking a new job where their total number of listeners was over 10 times fewer than their old one. But then not everybody is Chris Evans. If losing 7 million listeners wasn’t enough, by moving from the BBC to Virgin Radio, Evans also has to deal with commercial radio advertising – surely a continuity barrier for a broadcaster who likes to talk.

Two months before the launch date of the new show, an interesting development. Virgin Radio announced that the Chris Evans Breakfast Show would be the first UK commercial radio breakfast show to be advert free.

Given that adverts are the mechanism that enable commercial broadcasters to make money, the announcement that Evans’ new show was to be an ‘ad free zone’ was a bit of a head turner. Then came the follow up...

The show had signed a partnership with Sky TV. A simple agreement whereby Virgin Radio (a digital radio station) will be available on the Sky platform, while Sky gets a platform to talk about its latest new programmes.

As a marketer, what does this development tell us about marketing and advertising in 2019?

  • Consumers are not responding to adverts in the way they used to. They are becoming immune to messages that ‘tell us to do something.’ We have developed ways to ‘tune out’ both physically (by turning over or watching stuff ad free on catch-up) and metaphorically.
  • Advertisers are having to find subtler ways to get their messages across.
  • This is being done by emphasising content. So rather than advertising a TV programme, the programme will be talked about, perhaps with one of the stars mentioning a particular plot line.
  • The take-away from this development is that consumers in 2019 are more than able to work out for themselves if what is being talked about is of interest to them or not.

What does this mean for those of us running small businesses?

  • Try to find ways (other than by just telling people) how great you are.
  • Try and think less about what you are providing your clients and customers with, and more about the benefit they are deriving from buying your product or service.
  • Try and think about successes in your business, when something was perfect and a customer was delighted. Can you make a story out of it?
  • Remember that what other people say about your product or service is considered more authentic than what you say about it yourself. Don’t under-estimate the importance of testimonials and case studies.

Is advertising dead we know it? No, it isn’t. But the business owners that make success of their marketing will increasingly be ones that tell great stories and understand that consumers are able to pick up on these softer selling signals and respond accordingly.

Finally, if you’re looking for an opportunity for tell the story of your business to a room full of people, why not join the ECX 100 on 28 February 2018 at the Double Tree Hotel, Southampton. This networking event is one of the biggest networking opportunities this month, intended to rapidly grow your network with up to 100 businesses in the room for the sole purpose of making new and useful connections.


Nick Shrimpton is an ECX Member and Director of Sixth Sense Marketing. He can be contacted on 07881 784753.

Sponsors & Adverts