What happens after advertising?

A skeletal sign at a defunct self-carwash

A skeletal sign at a defunct self-carwash

To say that advertising is ubiquitous, is equivalent to saying that human beings wear clothing – my mental construct of a human being includes an unconscious acknowledgement of clothing. We cover our bodies, yet the object exists separate from the wrapper.

Advertising is to business as clothes are to human beings.

Business exists without advertising – but it’s awkward to behold.

Yes. I suspect you’re disagreeing with me. Business exists without advertising.

Even if we expand the definition of advertising to encompass word of mouth and any place the business name appears (receipts, legal documents, etc.), the exchange of value exists apart from it.

It is this characteristic of advertising that permits the question I’m asking.

We can’t very well conceive of the next evolution in human skin – because skin is an integral, critical organ.

Advertising is not. Theoretically speaking. Functionally speaking, values like growth, brand awareness, market saturation (as a spectrum, not a state of being), and competitive advantage are compromised in a world without advertising.

Human survival is compromised without clothing to insulate from the elements (hot and cold, light and abrasion). We might find other means to mitigate the elements, but clothing has developed as a practical means and a form of cultural expression.

So also has advertising developed as a practical means and cultural expression.

And where clothing has become highly specialized and effective. Advertising has become highly specialized and marginally more effective than nothing at all.

If you change the terms of what makes a business successful, you would also change the importance of advertising.

An economy could exist without advertising on every unclaimed surface. Advertising is just the best solution we’ve developed for gathering leads and establishing a presence.

If business values change, so will advertising. Human beings may never cease to wear clothing. It is difficult to prevent yourself from believing the same is true of advertising. It isn’t.


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