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From the Review of the U. of Chicago Booth school of business:

Why the power of TV advertising has been overstated

Television advertising may be considerably less effective than published studies suggest, according to Chicago Booth’s Bradley Shapiro and Günter J. Hitsch and Northwestern’s Anna E. Tuchman. Their findings may disappoint marketing executives responsible for spending billions of dollars a year on TV ads in the United States.

Drawing on the Nielsen Datasets at the Kilts Center for Marketing, the researchers devised a way to match up data on advertising with data on sales for the top 500 products sold at more than 12,000 stores from 2010 to 2014. The results demonstrate that television advertising’s effect on sales over the 52 weeks following the ads was about one-fifth as much as calculated when considering only data that showed statistically significant positive results—the only type of results typically included in published studies of advertising efficacy. A typical brand in the data sample, if doubling its television advertising, should expect about a 1 percent increase in sales, as compared to the 5 percent it might expect if it analyzed only successful campaigns, the research suggests. …

Shapiro, Hitsch, and Tuchman argue that while most brands in their sample would benefit from advertising less, many are still better off with their current advertising expenditure than if they weren’t advertising at all. However, for almost all brands, shutting off some advertising would increase profit.

So why has the established literature found larger average ad effects than Shapiro, Hitsch, and Tuchman find? The researchers suggest publication bias may be a big part of the answer. Academic journals are interested in studies that show statistically significant results, specifically increases in sales or returns on investment related to advertising. So when researchers find little or no effect, it’s likely that journal reviewers will reject their studies. “In particular, editors or reviewers may reject advertising-effect estimates that are not statistically significant or judged as small or ‘implausible,’ i.e. negative. Thus, false positives get published while true negatives get discarded,” the researchers write.

And that’s if the researchers even try to publish in the first place. The field has a documented “file drawer problem,” Shapiro, Hitsch, and Tuchman say, wherein research sometimes goes unfinished or unsubmitted to journals if the researchers recognize the findings are unlikely to be published. Including all the data, they argue, reveals that TV ads have a much smaller effect on sales than assumed. The researchers find that when they restricted their estimates to only brands that saw a positive and significant effect of advertising on sales, the average advertising effectiveness was much closer to that which is estimated in the established literature.

This is exactly what my experience was when I was in the test marketing business in Chicago in the 1980s.

I worked for a start-up that had constructed the world’s all-time best test marketing real world laboratory. We had eight small cities around the country like Eau Claire, Wisconsin in which we had paid to install in all the supermarkets in town the new laser-beam checkout scanners. In return, the supermarkets cooperated with us by scanning the ID cards of the 3,000 households we recruited in each town to identify themselves each time they went through the checkout line. So we had the complete shopping history of 3,000 families in each city. Each household was a cable TV subscriber, and we had installed a converter box on top of their TVs that allowed us to manipulate what TV commercials they saw: e.g., we could choose whether they saw Bill Cosby endorsing Jello Pudding Pops or whether they saw a public service announcement about how only you could prevent forest fires.

This system that opened at the end of 1979 probably remains the greatest real world experimental laboratory in the history of the social sciences.

From 1980 through 1985 it was immensely popular with the brand managers of the top CPG firms in the country. They tended to be convinced that they had overseen the creation of such hugely persuasive advertising that the only thing standing in the way of higher sales was top management’s mule-headed refusal to double their advertising budgets. So we got hired to do hundreds of year-long test markets for six figures each in which we showed half the people in town the current national advertising level and half double the current level. We made sure to make the test group and the control group exactly equal in purchases of the test brand and the test category over the previous year. This was SCIENCE!

And … because what we did was scientific, in the great majority of cases it turned out that doubling the advertising didn’t increase sales by a statistically significant amount.

I did manage one test of a famous toothpaste brand whose scientists had actually invented a new ingredient that was so effective that the American Dental Association endorsed their upgrade as something that everybody should start using immediately. In that case, it turned out that extra advertising about how the ADA wanted them to buy this new version NOW actually did boost sales.

But in the usual case of a famous old brand just repeating its usual catchphrase more often, higher advertising didn’t boost sales more than our quite sensitive level of statistical significance. This studies overall result that doubling advertising increased sales by on average by 1% sounds very much in line with my experience.

One time I tested both boosting and cutting ads for an extremely famous brand that you may well have in your bathroom. Neither moved the needle at all. I recommended to the client that they should consider testing advertising cuts for all their brands.

My strategy was forcibly rejected. It was explained to me that brand managers at this firm didn’t get promoted for cutting advertising they got promoted for convincing top management to boost their advertising budgets because they were such geniuses at advertising. This firm believed in advertising. After all, the term “soap opera” had been invented to describe the early TV shows sponsored by this firm.

An interesting question is whether online advertising is so much more effective than TV advertising. If it turns out not to be, how much does the NASDAQ average drop the next morning?

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  1. An interesting question is whether online advertising is so much more effective than TV advertising.

    I thought it was settled that the banner and pop-up ads were not effective, which is why you don’t see them. Then again, I use an ad-blocker. I’m really surprised that Google allows ad-blockers to be used with Chrome, since, as your post alludes to, Google is really an advertising company.

    • Replies: @Hhsiii
    , @anonymous
    , @Athanasius
  2. An interesting question is whether online advertising is so much more effective than TV advertising.

    I work in both, and no, it isn’t.

    TV advertising can work as well as online if you pick your target audiences and track affinity accurately.

  3. utu says:

    It is a patriotic duty to advertise by large corporations that do not need to advertise. Media existence is crucial to he survival of the system in which the large corporation may exist.

    • Agree: Old Prude
  4. Sunbeam says:

    I hope this one gets discussed heavily.

    On a related note, along with how effective advertising is in general, how specifically useful are Google’s services?

    As a rule don’t you depend on … Google to tell you how effective they were? If you don’t just look at X amount spent on Google advertising/services, and Y effect on sales?

  5. we had installed a converter box on top of their TVs that allowed us to manipulate what TV commercials they saw

    I am curious about this technology. Does it have a name, or was it proprietary to your firm?

    Bill Cosby endorsing Jello Pudding Pops

    Bill Cosby was once so ubiquitous that there is a Wikipedia page devoted to it.

  6. Hhsiii says:

    I thought Google’s big source of income is steering you via search results and selling your search predilection info. Not so much advertising. But I could be wrong.

    • Replies: @Forbes
  7. I hate advertising, unless it conveys accurate useful information, which is hardly ever.

    When practical I cut the logos off products I buy, and I damn sure am not going to pay 3x more for a shirt that says OLD NAVY or some other idiocy in huge font when the Kirkland (Costco) product is at least as good.

    The fact that millions of fools actually pay a premium price to do some shyster’s advertising for them leaves little hope for the future.

    I do find advertising perversely fascinating, particularly its endlessly subtle & not subtle ways of humiliating White people, especially straight White males. I can’t imagine (((who)))’s behind all that, or what (((their motive))) might be.

    • Agree: Charon, MBlanc46
    • Replies: @jb
    , @kaganovitch
    , @Cortes
    , @Western
  8. I wonder whether there’s a distinction between the short term and long term effectiveness of advertising. Maybe it works more like maintenance.

    Say you own some commercial buildings that you rent out to tenants. Over time, you will have to spend a lot of money on things that have no immediate impact on rent. Maybe you have to replace the roofing on one building and an old fire protection system in another. The tenants don’t care about these things as long as they work, so they aren’t going to pay any more rent to compensate you. The old roofing didn’t leak (but was near the end of its usable life) and the new roof doesn’t leak either. And you may be able to push off some of those repairs temporarily, which would make your short term books look better. But that might not be the best long term strategy.

    Even if an ad blitz doesn’t boost sales of Old Spice deodorant much, and a cut doesn’t reduce sales much, it could be that stopping ads makes Old Spice sales decline substantially- but slowly, over a number of years. Selling the product without advertising is like collecting rent without maintaining the building.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  9. Altai says:

    An interesting question is whether online advertising is so much more effective than TV advertising. If it turns out not to be, how much does the NASDAQ average drop the next morning?

    But unlike TV advertising it’s childsplay to turnoff ads with an adblocker. I’ve been using them for as long as they’ve existed (15 years?) and can’t stand the horrific experience of not.

    Some newspapers and others now block users using blockers but so far places like YouTube tolerate them despite the heavy amounts of adverts you’re skipping.

    I believe until recently that YouTube was giving users $1 per 1000 views on a video (Of a certain length long enough to accommodate 2 or 3 ads). Most people get virtually nothing on this but the likes of PewDiePie with monthly views in the hundreds of millions earn more than they otherwise could ever hope to in a real job. But that raises a question for me about how dumb the 7-21 year olds that make up almost his entire audience are that they aren’t using adblockers in large enough numbers to keep PewDiePie in a day job.

  10. Would you expect advertising to help with long-term branding? Coke vs. Shasta and the like?

  11. @A SIMPLE Pseudonymic Handle

    That was my proposal: begin reduced advertising for famous old brands in our test markets 2 years before you reduce it nationally. If out test markets show sales turning south after X years of reduced advertising, restore advertising nationally.

    But, it was explained to me, the way you got promoted and the Famous CPG Firm was by coming up with great advertising that wowed the top brass. For example, the CEO at the time (the 1980s) was the brand manager who in the 1950s had come up with the idea of putting fluoride in toothpaste, which was all very well, but what had made his career was his getting Norman Rockwell to paint their “Look, Ma, no cavities campaign” and then getting the American Dental Association to let him use their seal in his TV spots for the brand advertising that the ADA had endorsed his innovation.

    I had to admit that, yeah, that actually was pretty awesome.

  12. Realist says:

    I have always felt that the power of television advertising was over rated. I use record options for what I want to watch on television, that way I can watch the program delayed and fast forward through the commercials. Comcast in my area is even helping, by placing visual markers at commercial points which automatically stops fast forward at the end of commercials.

  13. eah says:


    Recently the Internet Somebody known as PewDiePie donated (ahem) $50k to the ADL — an example of an ADL shakedown lobbying campaign in Iceland:

    Here are the letters the ADL sent to one of our ministers. It basically says. If you ban circumcision we’ll use our media to destroy your tourism.

    • Replies: @tomv
  14. Charon says:

    Do Shapiro, Hitsch and Tuchman offer up any theories about how every single television advert showing a blonde woman has her paired with a black man? I mean, if it doesn’t have any effect, why go to all the trouble?

    • LOL: eah
    • Replies: @eah
    , @Old Prude
  15. slumber_j says:

    This studies overall result that doubling advertising increased sales by on average by 1% sounds very much in line with my experience.

    @SteveSailer: For “studies” you of course want “study’s”.

  16. Bitfu says:

    As I read this post on my Apple MacBook Pro, I found myself nauseated (Tums is really good for this, btw) and fatigued. Not not just ‘tired’…but fatigued. I was overcome by a Ta-Nehisi Coates level of weariness. [His latest book at Amazon discusses this in great detail. I LOVE this book–buy it today!]

    At this point, I have no choice but to reach for an Extra-Strength 5-Hour Energy drink (no sugar, only 4 calories! And the Grape flavor is so tasty too!) and get away from all this nonsense. Think I’ll just relax with some Netflix on my 60 inch HDTV I got last week at Best Buy for only $479 (plus tax and handling fees as may be applied depending on your state and VAT requirements).

    The content on Netflix is devoid of ALL advertising, and I for one love, love, LOVE it.

  17. I recently worked with a company that sells a subscription product. One of their strengths is their data collection. The leads they generate via TV advertising convert to sales at about half the rate as leads generated via digital ads or simply data gathering (tracking google searches, website visits, etc.). The customers they do acquire from television advertising are also more likely to default and/or quit the service. Needless to say they are discontinuing television advertising going forward.

  18. If advertising has no effect, why do men still buy diamond rings for their hoped-to-be wives?

    My wife is definitely affected by some adverts – she will tend to go for the instant coffee brand which is

    a) most heavily advertised
    b) has the coolest jars

    Ten years ago it was Kenco – IIRC a Kraft brand which came in distinctive stumpy square jars. They then made the jars taller and more like a Nescafe jar.

    Now Douwe Egberts is most heavily advertised, has a cool jar which is useful for storage of anything from edible nuts to nuts and bolts – and she buys that (despite, or perhaps because of, the higher price). I can’t taste the difference.

    • Replies: @Alice
    , @J.Ross
  19. Twinkie says:

    It’s been known in the advertising, marketing, and fundraising industries for a long time that un-targeted and un-individualized campaigns have negligible effects. But they surely make good money for those who peddle such efforts. Even “successful” campaigns are successful in that they draw “artistic” accolades, not additional sales and are thus merely prestige goods for the companies that employ such services.

  20. Somewhat related:

    Rewards cards for grocery stores and gas stations, etc. These are just marketing tools, correct? Allows the retail provider to mine data on purchases and customize advertising to individuals based on their purchasing patterns. It also allows them to track larger purchasing trends in certain areas and sell individual information to telemarketers so they can spam us with phone calls at 9pm.

    Or what am I missing?

  21. Stupid shows with idiotic ads featuring imbecilic minorities talking down to 95 IQ hetero normative white folks or insulting their sensibilities (overtly or subliminally) is the success formula for effective TV advertising and don’t y’all forget that Madison Avenuers.

  22. Why do hospitals and colleges feel the need to advertise so heavily? Both are heavy users of highway billboards, TV, and print media advertising. You didn’t see it that much 20 years ago.

  23. One of the reasons Trump is president is because of the way his campaign handled their budget.

    Mrs. Clinton spent more for TV ads which didn’t work.

    Mr. Trump had a smaller budget, but spent more on social media sites, etc.

    Not to mention the way Trump manipulated the media to get billions of dollars of free media. The supposedly liberal CNN was nearly all Trump all the time even back in 2015.

    I am not a fan of Trump, but I will say he is The Master when it comes to marketing. Bill Clinton and Obama were masters. Trump is The Master.

    Hillary Clinton was so pathetic the only possibilities are that either she decided not to use his advisors because she wanted her own people, or else Bill wasn’t trying very hard.

  24. theMann says:

    Got rid of cable the day I decided I like going to Vegas more than paying a cable bill. Haven’t seen a commercial since.

    Pandora Premium, Adblock Plus, cash for groceries, etc. Living in an Advertisement free world is good for your sanity, and entirely doable.

    • Replies: @For what it's worth
  25. peterike says:

    Advertising works and it doesn’t. It’s good for introducing a new product. Look how those famous iPod ads, the dancing silhouettes, made iPods a household name practically over night.

    Where I think it fails is in changing opinions on things like Coke vs. Pepsi. I mean, you like Coke or you like Pepsi. Is seeing Michael Jackson endorse Pepsi going to change your mind? Maybe it does among weak minded noodles who are easily triggered emotionally (like blacks and Hispanics and a big segment of the female population).

    As others have already mentioned, the real pernicious aspect of advertising and television in general is how it portrays a fake world: every white woman married to a black man, with a few mocha children. Or variants of multi-culti race mixing. And gays everywhere. This clearly does influence people’s perception of the world. We know that many people think the gay population is way higher than it really is, and this is entirely a result of media. I would assume that the same effect is achieved in terms of race mixing, and people assume it’s more widespread than it is. This is called normalizing the abnormal, and the media have been masters at this for many decades now.

    Also, the impact of search results is quite interesting. This interview with Dr. Robert Epstein is fascinating, and his studies showed a very significant impact of search manipulation. Steve, you should watch this.

  26. That’s a wonderful description of your work, Steve. My own little experience with TV advertising included that golf-related commercial I mentioned recently. The operation was so small that I was the one logging in through the DOS prompt every morning to get the previous day’s numbers.

    I produced cheap 30-second spots as in independent contractor, and viewers placed orders to my employer’s call center on the 800 number that I put on their TV screens. The company both sold it’s own line of products and also served other small businesses, like the golf company, who wanted to sell the way we did. I was a writer (hack) there and did TV stuff outside, so I kind of fell into this role.

    My reports tracked the calls, so I was able to see the daily response to my own ads from local markets. I can honestly say that the ads caused calls and sales, but this is as scientific as it got: we got zero calls before my ads ran, and then a certain number of calls after. And yes, my spots did result in sales for the golf company that didn’t pay me. This was rinky-dink stuff, not multi-million dollar Procter and Gamble campaigns, but it was fun.

    My own hunch is that ads are a great way to let people know you exist, as we did, but that there must be a point of diminishing returns for massive, household names (which you proved.)

  27. So, still pointing out truths that get ignored, Steve?

  28. @Steve Sailer

    When I was in advertising, one of our clients I’m pretty sure was the Famous CPG Firm to which you refer. We held the accounts for several of their products. One of the problems with working with them was that they regularly rotated brand managers through their product line, so you were never working with the same company people for more than two years. We had developed TV advertising for one of their products that got a lot of media attention. It was the only campaign I ever worked on that 20 years later a lot of people still remember and, IIRC, it improved sales slightly. However, when the new brand manager took over he had no interest in continuing the campaign. He needed to do something different in order to make his mark, so a campaign that had been considered successful was scrapped.

    I have to laugh at critics of consumerism who say “advertising makes people buy things they don’t need and never knew they wanted.” That’s the dream of our clients, but seriously, have you ever bought something you didn’t want or need because you saw an ad for it? Maybe something at the level of a new candy bar or cookie, but beyond that, I don’t think so. Advertising is helpful when introducing a new product, maintaining brand awareness, and creating a brand identity. I think that’s about it.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  29. UES guy says:

    Semi-OT: The NYC Dept. of Education bungled selective-high-school admissions last year, causing a number of lower-scoring students to be enrolled in schools like Upper Lab.

    A few other schools suffered the same fate, and these students started high school last week. Presumably some high-scoring students suffered the opposite fate and were anomalously enrolled in worse schools.

    If the DOE had the right mindset and a few number crunchers, it could use this as a natural experiment to test some of Carranza’s theories about the powers of magic soil.

    • Replies: @nymom
  30. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Google speaks Truth to the powerless.

  31. JMcG says:

    Advertising works wonderfully well in convincing me NOT to buy stuff.

  32. If TV ads worked I’d always have some friendly young black guy hanging around my man cave eating nachos and pizza while we watch the big game. And some cute mixed-race kids running around my house or piling into the back seat of my Subaru

  33. jb says:
    @Pat Kittle

    I won’t buy anything with a visible logo. I’m not going to be somebody’s walking billboard.

  34. One of the things that struck me when I worked in advertising was that it was not like a normal business. A normal business sells a product to customers and it wants those customers to be satisfied with it. In. advertising, you’re selling a creative product to your clients, and of course they have to be willing to pay for it, but you’re motives are mixed. Most people who work in advertising are more focused on impressing their industry peers than they are in pleasing the clients. They want to win prizes. If you can get a cool ad on the air that spends almost no time promoting the product, your peers will be in awe and say, “How did they get away with that?”

    They got away with that because they have a client like Nike or Budweiser that will let them express themselves creatively. Most clients will not–they want their ads to sell, sell, sell. (This is not so bad these days as it was when I was in the business.) The dream of every “creative” who works at an ad agency is to get a job at one of those cool agencies where you can do cool work. Obviously the needs of your current client must be met, however reluctantly, but you’re constantly pushing them to accept campaigns that with which they’re not necessarily comfortable. At my agency, the contempt in which our edgy creative director held our biggest client became so obvious that we lost their accounts.

    I was in the business 20 years ago, and perhaps the contraction the business has suffered since then has made agencies more reluctant to challenge their clients.

  35. Twinkie says:

    Yes, and for that you get some discounts in exchange.

  36. jb says:
    @Steve Sailer

    There was a series of incomprehensible TV ads a number of years ago for some company — I think it was Avaya maybe? — that left me quite baffled, because I couldn’t even figure out what the product was. I decided that the commercials were not aimed at me but at corporate CEOs, and that the message was “if we can afford this commercial we must be for real.” I think at some level this is the message of a lot of advertising.

    • Replies: @Spangel
  37. Like the AA ad that the least likely demo – BW can fix a dumb car, every ad contains about 6 million lies!

    If they lie about that…

  38. fondolo says:

    weren’t “soap operas” on radio first?

  39. Anon[204] • Disclaimer says:

    a new ingredient that was so effective that the American Dental Association endorsed their upgrade as something that everybody should start using immediately

    I read a history of Proctor & Gamble that claimed that P&G in effect invented the ADA to have a fake official sounding endorser for toothpaste (which P&G also more or less invented in its modern form). The ADA was a sort of sleepy tooth-oriented social club, but P&G offered them big bucks, and it became an endorsement-driven money group, the SPLC of teeth. Dentistry, by the way, is at a Middle Ages level compared to medicine. The evidence-based dentistry movement is relatively recent, but has already debunked all sorts of costly treatments, like all that gum trimming stuff. Also, dentistry is the source of a lot of hepatitis and other disease, since the dentist wears a mask and gloves, but then moves around the lamp, etc., without any effective disinfecting between patients. Remember the Florida AIDS dentist?

  40. Forbes says:

    The first (sometimes first and second) search results are paid slots (advertising). Key words are sold (advertising) to trigger those top slots.

  41. Anon[204] • Disclaimer says:

    The advent of supermarket scanners had a big effect on various nutrition related medical research. For instance, there were studies at one point that found that wine was healthy for you, and hypothesized that resveratrol was responsible. Cue the resveratrol supplement and additive industry.

    Then there were some scanner studies out of the Netherlands and Southern California. It turns out that people who buy wine also tend to buy healthy food, while people who buy beer buy unhealthy food. Whoops! Causation suddenly became not so obvious.

    Genetic research then came along and found that there is no causation at all here: genetically “fit” people tend to buy wine and healthy food (and have higher IQs), but their lives are not really extended by what they eat and drink. They could drink beer and eat sausages and have about the same lifespans. (Plomin’s Fourth Finding from his 2016 paper, dubbed “The Fifth Law of Behavioral Genetics” by Emil Kirkegaard.)

  42. I am a statistician and a few years back we ran a test/control on adverstising and similar to Steve’s results, the areas where we did not do the local advertising had better results than where we advertised. Marketing was not happy when I suggested we should just stop advertising.

  43. @Pat Kittle

    I do find advertising perversely fascinating, particularly its endlessly subtle & not subtle ways of humiliating White people, especially straight White males. I can’t imagine (((who)))’s behind all that, or what (((their motive))) might be.

    Outside of David Sable(Y and R.) and Michael Roth (IPG) few of the big Agencies have Jewish CEOs. I think Tamara Ingram (JWT) is a mischling also. Edward Bernays was a long time ago..

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  44. @Paleo Liberal

    I am not a fan of Trump, but I will say he is The Master when it comes to marketing. Bill Clinton and Obama were masters. Trump is The Master.

    Bingo. Clinton and Obama were dealing with a complicit media who were in the bag for them from day 1. Free favorable publicity is baked into the cake for them. Trump is manipulating a hostile media to provide him the equivalent of a massive campaign staff for free.

  45. Jack D says:

    Just like the Internet killed magazines and newspapers, it’s going to kill network broadcasting too. My kids regard having a cable subscription the same as they regard having a landline phone – this is something your grandma has. You can’t sell ineffective commercials on network TV if no one is watching network TV. So this problem is going to solve itself.

    Broadcasting is an extremely inefficient way to advertise. We see ads all the time for drugs for obscure diseases that 99% of the population doesn’t have and will never have. Ditto lawyer’s ads for melisthemioma victims, etc. You have to show this ad to a million people in the hope that a handful of the people you really want to reach will see it. For the other 99% of the population, it’s a total waste. It pays anyway because you’re not selling that one person a pack of gum for fifty cents – signing up a single melisthemioma victim could be worth millions to a law firm.

    With the internet, if you target people who are searching for the name of the disease, you are much more likely to hit paydirt. For a while, melisthemioma was the most valuable Google adword. If you want to cost some plaintiff’s lawyer a lot of money (I don’t know what clicks sell for nowadays) , turn off your ad blocker, Google melisthemioma and click thru on their ads.

    • Replies: @Marty
    , @J.Ross
  46. Art Deco says:

    The weren’t selling more because they didn’t hire Rosemary Clooney to pitch for them.

  47. Alice says:

    There’s tons of evidence online doesn’t move the needle at all. But ads don’t buy themselves, and creating software that measures clicks on ads doesn’t require sales to rise in proportion to clicks, so advertisment buyers love to buy software to measure and impute “eyeballs” andeasure and impute “clicks” to claim an increase in sales and justify their ad buy!

    The majority of the streaming/IoT/commerce/marketing startups in silicon valley are just a self licking ice cream cone.

  48. @MikeatMikedotMike

    They also get to list two prices for everything: the “regular” price, and the lower “club” or “member” price.

    Every single shopper actually gets the lower price. And everyone knows this. But at some level it still generates the illusion that you are getting a “deal.”

    I guess it’s like ending prices with .99 — it works because it’s so transparently manipulative that people can’t admit it actually influences them.

  49. Alice says:

    –If advertising has no effect, why do men still buy diamond rings for their hoped-to-be wives?

    Because of the conspiracy of women to tell them if they don’t, they’re a heel who wont get any action.

    That’s about female status, and it needs no advertising. Realize what the tv market is like now vs 30 years ago: even the weirdest ABC tv show (Twin Peaks) had a pilot seen by nearly 35 Million people. Big Bang Theory, Roseanne and GoT final season premiere are all only at 17 million viewers including all streaming services.

    the tv market is dying, so is the coherent culture of the US, yet keeping up on status is something females have done for 500 million years.

  50. Whiskey says: • Website

    Gillette did gangbusters with their White men are toxic ads.

    Sales went …

    Most advertising is negative. Gays and women telling White men they want White men gone. It build brand loyalty with White women, gays and Blacks. Kills it with White men but most brands don’t want White men buying their stuff anyway.

    Sales don’t really matter. Execs always get paid. Look at Yeti coolers.

  51. Screwtape says:

    I don’t know but it seems like the value-added progressive identity war embedded in modern advertising is working quite well.

    And for no increase in capital. Probably even a savings since POCs and women dominate TV ads and the ad firms don’t have to pay them as much.

    Some $B loses on a globocorp balance sheet are nothing compared to the brand virtue status gained.

    The real campaign is going swimmingly. White male suicides are way up. Two-parent family formation is way down. Women hate and envy men but feel more emboldened than ever to simultaneously demand their protection and provisioning. Borders are wide open. Pharma has a pill for everything. Love trumps hate everywhere i can see. And the future is a brown female.

    Plus football started. So I will be less likely to go on that rape spree or get all domestic violent on my old lady.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
  52. @Harry Baldwin

    “have you ever bought something you didn’t want or need because you saw an ad for it?”

    Vaginal deodorants were a thing for a while – do they still exist?

    Under our sink units are cleaners for every surface you can imagine – shower cleaner, floor cleaner, tile cleaner, laminate floor cleaner, wood floor cleaner, kitchen worktop cleaner, toilet cleaner, oven cleaner, hob cleaner, bath and sink cleaner, window cleaner. In the bathroom – body wash, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel.

    Shoes – about ten different containers for leather, suede, trainers, tennis shoes and lord knows what else.

    I refuse to believe I’m the only person whose cupboards are full of such stuff.

    When I lived alone I had toilet cleaner, window cleaner and an all-purpose cleaner for everything else. Soap and shower gel in the bathroom, tins of black and brown shoe polish . But then I never cleaned the oven.

  53. Marty says:
    @Jack D

    It won’t cost any individual plaintiff lawyer much. The advertising costs are distributed over the TL network.

  54. Shapiro, Hitsch, and Tuchman argue that while most brands in their sample would benefit from advertising less, many are still better off with their current advertising expenditure than if they weren’t advertising at all. However, for almost all brands, shutting off some advertising would increase profit.

    Only half of all advertising works. But nobody knows which half.

    Shapiro, Hitsch, and Tuchman = Handicap a hunch–> shitstorm.

  55. Dtbb says:

    Why advertise prescription drugs? It doesn’t compute to me. Are they aimed at doctors?

  56. Spangel says:
    @Steve Sailer

    In finance, brands who have been advertising for decades and using the same core messaging have an edge over those who don’t. But it’s an industry of extreme discrepancies where some firms (say fidelity) advertise considerably and other firms barely advertise at all.

    The advantage known brands have exists but it’s hard to say how much it matters over price and performance considerations in finance where people are generally slowish and deliberating over the exact quality of a product or service rather than being swayed by brand image.

  57. @Paleo Liberal

    You’re right about that. I once worked as a pollster for all of one day in Romney’s bid against Obama. I very quickly learned by interacting with my superiors and observing their other interactions that the consultants hired for this particular part of the campaign were a very loathsome and cynical bunch of grifters.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    , @Harry Baldwin
  58. @MikeatMikedotMike

    The also forward their data bases to the IRS and the DHS.

  59. J.Ross says:

    Think of a big pharma salesrat: he will endorse the product of a competing brand before he countenances accusations of general ineffectiveness or of non-drug therapies being preferable. The overall impression of effectiveness will only help your brand too, and disrespectful questions can only hurt it. It’s a situation without a devil’s advocate, where it is in nobody’s interest to ask about taking a step back. It is a gold rush.

  60. indocon says:

    Google has had access to Mastercard transaction data for over an year now, if digital advertising works, we would have seen a big story come out of this already:

    Conversely if it does not work, that report will be buried deep in Google’s vaults. If by next year nothing comes out, you can make your judgement.

    To answer Steve’s question, 10% of Nasdaq is Google and Facebook which are pretty much 100% built based on the assumption that digital advertisement works. Take them away and you have a decent sized cut.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  61. indocon says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    Trump won because of his message, not medium. Jeb could have tried replicating Trump’s medium all he wanted, would not have moved the needle at all.

  62. J.Ross says:
    @Jack D

    I would reject cable even if it was still a thing though: Consumerist had a regular section devoted to Comcast, which resolved with a letter from an anonymous Comcast employee patiently explaining why Comcast was totally immune to complaint, and when I lived in Southern California and sought Spanish-language television, it wasn’t default, you had to ask for that bloc. Landline telephones have some advantages but cable was a mismanaged disaster, a textbook argument against monopoly.

  63. J.Ross says:

    You are describing an infamous campaign (the diamonds, not the coffee jars), which worked in a more credulous age. Possibly part of advertising’s effect was a tolerance build-up.
    We still see old advertising tricks used politically. A lot of the social media stuff is a remade whispering campaign or tupperware party (you’re hearing from a supposed peer and not an expert or authority figure). The Democrats threw everything they had at the potential advertising audience in 2016 and what didn’t fail backfired.
    My favorite social media influencing clumsiness is still the Whole Foods nabob telling anons that labor unions are bad.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  64. J.Ross says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    Hillary Clinton was so pathetic the only possibilities are that either she decided not to use his advisors because she wanted her own people, or else Bill wasn’t trying very hard.

    Not pathetic. Egotistical. Hillary was so conceited she thought she could afford to ignore free political advice from Bill Clinton, and most Republicans would concede that Bill’s political advice is a bargain at any cost.

  65. Cortes says:
    @Pat Kittle

    In a job I had while a student in the late 1970s (in an off-licence shop – liquor store in US speak – located near the entrance to a huge shipyard) almost every sale ended with the staff being ordered to turn the bags carrying the store’s name and logo inside out. The order was usually accompanied by colourful language directed against the store, its minions and the world at large by guys with hands like shovels and muscles not derived from being gym rats.

  66. An interesting question is whether online advertising is so much more effective than TV advertising. If it turns out not to be, how much does the NASDAQ average drop the next morning?

    Good question.

    I hope the NASDAQ and the rest of the rigged crap in the stock market settle comfortably close to ZERO for the duration. Liquidity is almost everything in the stock market says that Sausalito guy from Harvard.

    My question is how much loot did the Swiss National Bank conjure up out of thin air to buy a hundred billion dollars worth of the stock of Facebook and Apple and Amazon and Netflix and Alphabet(Google) and other internet corporations and technology corporations and electronic gadget corporations?

    Maybe that’s a trick question.

    Why can’t the Swiss be happy drinking hot cocoa and eating cake? Why do the Swiss need to print and conjure up money and buy stock?

    What is this Mario Soto Draghi guy at the ECB doing with this wacko negative interest rates and quantitative easing or asset purchases or bond buying?

    How about the nations of Europe reclaim their sovereignty by killing the European Central Bank and the European Union?

  67. Anonymous[404] • Disclaimer says:

    The *real* good news is that the UK’s god-awful national ITV television network is likely to implode some time soon.
    Basically, ITV is non stop trashy soap opera piled upon non stop trashy soap opera. As the old model of commercial TV funding via adverts inexorably declines along with ratings and the growth of new media, a point will surely be reached when ITV is commercially unfeasible.
    Now, not even the brainless saps who watch trash soap opera will be willing to actually *pay money* out of their own purses to watch this garbage as the new pay-per-view model of televisual content unrolls.

  68. “When asked if he felt it was advisable for soccer to promote tobacco smoking, FIFA president Dr. João Havelange replied that he had been looking at cigarette ads for all of his life and he had never smoked.”

  69. Since there are a lot of advertising professionals contributing to this thread, I’d like to ask a few questions that have nagged at me for years:
    Why can’t I remember ever seeing a car commercial that actually tells you something about the car?
    Do consumers really buy cars on the basis of “Zoom, Zoom”, or Matthew McConaughey’s drive-by musings or drone shots of the product speeding along a lonely highway at twilight?
    A new car is the largest consumer purchase most ordinary folks ever make.
    Wouldn’t it more sensible for a car manufacturer to brag about price, or horsepower, or seating capacity, or safety ratings, or high-tech features, or fuel economy, or something else that’s tangible?
    What am I missing?

    • Replies: @Pat Kittle
    , @J.Ross
  70. mercer says:

    I think it can be possible to spend too much if you don’t vary the content. I watch most of my local baseball team’s broadcasts. PNC Bank runs the exact same ad several times on each game for the entire season so I see the same stupid ad close to a thousand times a year. It makes me sick of PNC and hostile to the idea of ever banking with them. If companies are going to spend at lot on ads they should be like Geico and change the ad content frequently.

  71. @Steve Sailer

    Most people seem to think advertising is like evil mind control – making you buy things you don’t want or need by manipulating your emotions.

    Some commercials attempt that, say expensive Jaguar cars, where they say nothing about the product but show women staring at you as you drive by.

    Still, how do you know about the things you would like to buy? Is it just in the air – your friend says you have to get an insta-pot? Very few products go viral on word of mouth. When the FDA allowed companies to advertise low dose aspirin for the prevention of heart attack many people were informed about an important product benefit. If you rely on your doctor for all information about drugs which might benefit you you will miss lots of information. Doctors are pressured to complete a patient visit in a few minutes. Often only 20 seconds pass before the Dr. interrupts the patient.
    You might never get to express problems which might be helped and in ignorance believe you just have to suffer with them.

    Imagine performance arts without advertising. People could search on line when they are in the mood for a concert but if your group was last week you may never have another opportunity to see them locally.

  72. An interesting question is whether online advertising is so much more effective than TV advertising. If it turns out not to be, how much does the NASDAQ average drop the next morning?

    I wouldn’t the NASDAQ expect to shrink, but maybe NASCAR would get a boost?

  73. MEH 0910 says:

    The active ingredient of Crest was changed in 1981 to sodium monofluorophosphate, or “Fluoristat”.

  74. i’m sure advertising works for things that have no visibility, no brand identity, and which most people have never heard of. if you were a brand new product, or an existing product that went strictly by word of mouth for decades, and then decided to advertise, it would 100% for certain increase sales. soft launch versus hard launch for various products and real estate properties, marketing budget for music and movies, all are well established concepts. if you go by word of mouth, you WILL sell less, usually a lot less. only products out of people’s price range are exempt from these principles. wilson audio, or koenigsegg, don’t need to advertise and never would.

    but it probably doesn’t work much for commodity items that people have known about their entire life. one more beer commercial, one more truck commercial during NFL games. who doesn’t know what viagra is at this point.

  75. My strategy was forcibly rejected. It was explained to me that brand managers at this firm didn’t get promoted for cutting advertising they got promoted for convincing top management to boost their advertising budgets because they were such geniuses at advertising.

    One of my most interesting assignments in the private equity business was parachuting into one of the media companies in our portfolio as its business manager and see what could be done to optimise it. Production was pretty lean, but sales were lacklustre. The solution was to send moderately valuable gifts to the corporate communications people who did the buying; not standard crap like pens and mousepads, instead nice things like watches and jewelry, etc. Sales improved dramatically, and as the clients bought more glitzy media, they got promoted. Everyone won.

  76. Barnard says:

    I remember hearing that after this commercial featuring John Wayne ran, Coors Light had a 10% increase in sales the next month. For well established brands I would think this is the exception to the rule Steve proved. Even that was temporary increase and may not have been worth it financially. Around the same time as this ad, there was a commercial with Fred Astaire dancing with a Dirt Devil vacuum that I don’t remember as being well received.

  77. The Z Blog says: • Website

    When I was just starting out, I worked in a finance department doing analysis on various business projects. I knew Lotus 1-2-3 and this newfangled thing called Excel, so I got a lot of interesting projects that crossed departments. Back then, some departments still used Lotus, while others used Excel. I was one of the universal translators for the company.

    Anyway, I was tasked with determining the ROI of various marketing campaigns. It was quite a learning experience. Despite the numbers, I saw senior managers swear that their favorite program drove sales. It really was amazing just how deeply committed people were to certain ideas.

    What I saw was that most programs were impossible to evaluate. There was no way to track the impact. These were favorites of marketing, as they could spin them a million ways. Some were just a waste of money. The company would have been better off burning the money. That would have at least been a fun few minutes over beers.

    The only programs that seemed to work were awareness programs. Announcing a new item, a new location or a new sale showed some positive results.

    At some point, I sat down with the SVP of marketing and asked him some questions about what I was finding. He was a bit of a character. He said to me, “Here’s how marketing works. Every year you have to overspend on marketing. If sales are down, you tell management that you tried to save them, but your budget was not enough to save their year. If sales are up, you take credit for it and ask for a bigger budget.”

    I thought he was just shining me on, but I see now he was sharing some useful wisdom about his trade.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  78. Michael S says:

    Obvious follow-on question: do internet memes, which are basically a form of advertising, really have the persuasive power that elites and trolls alike think they do, or are they really just the mirror image of a shifting culture?

  79. @Dtbb

    Why advertise prescription drugs? It doesn’t compute to me. Are they aimed at doctors?

    They are aimed at patients who can pressure doctors into prescribing them. Sad to say, this a remarkably successful tactic.

  80. Art Deco says:

    I think they want people to bug their doctors. Of course, you visit your doctor on the right day, you can spot the sales reps.

  81. Art Deco says:
    @Jim bob Lassiter

    See Robert Stacy McCain’s assessment of Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace, the pair John McCain hired to run his campaign.

  82. The study was conducted by the “Kilts Center for Marketing.” Pretty much proving the point that TV is of limited marketing utility. I mean, how many guys do you see walking around in kilts?

  83. Art Deco says:
    @The Z Blog

    Note among the comic villains of the Dilbert strip were guys from the marketing department.

  84. Well… every time I watch the commercials its a negro with a white woman front and center. I quickly tune out. I don’t know what the ad is about. It’s just a race-mixing promotional. This is their plan to sell to me?

    These ads appear during hockey games. Not exactly a big crowd a negro married with whites watching the game. I wonder who they are trying to sell to.

    Modern advertising (past 2 years) has left me with a sour taste and now I dislike most corporations. I try to buy from local, white-owned businesses as much as possible, even if the price is higher.

    OTOH, I do notice that our “new” citizens are obsessed with status. All races and all backgrounds except whites. The companies maybe know this, so they can get Tyrone to spend his last welfare pennies on some new shoes rather than being a stingy asshole like myself. I know a Chinaman who is broke, but he has many pairs of nice shoes and clothing. He appears to be much wealthier than me.

    • Replies: @Western
  85. @kaganovitch

    “Edward Bernays was a long time ago..”

    Top 5 agencies worldwide

    WPP – built by Martin Sorrell, who’s only recently stepped down following undisclosed shenanigans (#metoo? who knows?) and a lot of NDA’s.

    Omnicom, created in 1986 by Allen Rosenshine, Keith Reinhard and John Bernbach. No info on John D Wren, who’s been in charge since 1997.

    Publicis – Maurice Levy stepped down in 2017, still chairs the Supervisory Board.

    Interpublic – Michael I. Roth

    Dentsu – I think we can rule out Toshihiro Yamamoto.

    But that’s still quite a presence.

    • Agree: HammerJack, Pat Kittle
    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  86. @Paleo Liberal

    Hillary Clinton was so pathetic the only possibilities are that either she decided not to use his advisors because she wanted her own people, or else Bill wasn’t trying very hard.

    Or she is a grotesquely inferior product, that was basically impossible to make appealing.

    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
  87. @Jim bob Lassiter

    the consultants hired for this particular part of the campaign were a very loathsome and cynical bunch of grifters.

    Since I consider Romney himself a loathsome and cynical grifter, this seems appropriate. I actually voted for him in the primary, when, like Ann Coulter, I thought he was the most immigration-restrictionist Republican candidate. Once he got the nomination, he jettisoned advisor Kris Kobach. When Obama challenged him on the “self-deportation” policy, he didn’t stand behind it but stood there dumbstruck, a moment that may have cost him the election. Then, when Obama was president, Romney said his DREAMER Act didn’t go far enough. Now he spends all his time undermining Trump. A truly loathsome and cynical man. BTW, Sean Hannity always describes him as a fine gentleman.

  88. @AnotherDad

    Her marketing was terrible.

    The most successful marketing gets people to create their own individual stories in their heads which they find appealing. Liberals like forward messages better, conservatives are more amenable to backwards looking messages.

    What do these messages mean? They invite us to form an appealing picture in our heads:

    Bridge to the 21st Century.
    Bring up your own vision of a futuristic utopia.

    Hope and Change.
    Bring up your own vision of a caring future.

    Make America Great Again
    Bring up images of your childhood when a single income family could live a middle class life.

    In contrast:

    I’m with Her!

    • Replies: @Spangel
    , @Pat Kittle
  89. Anon7 says:

    An interesting question is whether online advertising is so much more effective than TV advertising.

    Hell yes. Even Google’s original insight, that a camera store will pay to put an advertisement on a search page for “buy camera”, is bloody genius. If you’ve never run a small business, you have no idea how hard it is to drive sales. The idea that you could pay google $1.00 per qualified lead to visit your online storefront is unbelievably amazing. You simply have no idea what it was like before google.

    Even better, there’s A/B testing. Buy 1,000 click-throughs from Google, and have them send 500 to one page and 500 to a differently worded page, and see which one gets more sales. Rewrite and like shooting fish in a barrel.

    Scary news, it works for politics and political donations too. I’m pretty sure they’re doing it with text message pleas now. Once you’ve got someone’s phone number you don’t need google anymore.

    I think national brand TV advertising has a different purpose now, namely, world-building. In your mind, that is. Before the current era, advertising dealt with facts; now, products consist of fantasy as much as reality. What are you really buying when you spend $4 for a Starbucks beverage consisting of fifty cents worth of warmed flavored milk? Or when you buy $95 Nike shoes that cost five dollars to make and ship around the world? You’re buying the fantasy image of yourself that they’ve created in your mind.

    People rely on those images; the upkeep on your fantasy world is expensive for advertisers but it pays off. It also ties you to the mainstream media. People desperately need the reinforcement of their internal fantasy world.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  90. @YetAnotherAnon

    Ah , I forgot about Sorrell. John Wren, despite Brooklyn background is Irish Catholic.

  91. Western says:
    @Pat Kittle

    New Era ruined MLB on-field caps by putting their logo on it.

    Baseball style hats didn’t have a logo and now they all do whether it’s a college team, NFL etc or just some non-team hat. It’s almost impossible to buy a hat without an Umbro, New Era, Nike or whatever logo.

    • Replies: @Pat Kittle
  92. Spangel says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    It was actually stronger together, which was so bland no one knew it was her campaign slogan.

  93. Spangel says:

    Might it have been voya? I remember those ads. And I remember thinking I had no idea what was being advertised.

  94. Western says:

    It seems like there are more black voice-overs on commercials now. They used to have classic voices doing voice-overs. Now it’s black people with a discernable black accent.

    • Replies: @Pat Kittle
  95. @theMann

    You could quit the Internet, too, but then who would you brag about it to?

  96. @Dtbb

    The US and New Zealand are the only ‘First World” countries that allow direct mfg. to consumer advertising of RX meds.

  97. @Western

    Let’s call it what it is.

    It’s littering.

    Legal, high-status littering by disgusting Big-Time Litterers.

  98. @Jim from TO

    Japanese vehicle reliability, now that’s something tangible.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  99. @Western

    If Blacks aren’t protesting against poverty they’re bragging about bling.

  100. It sounds like a good example of the metallic rules of social programs.

    The Brass Law of Evaluation: “The more social programs are designed to change individuals, the more likely the net impact of the program will be zero.”

  101. JackOH says:

    Sold lousy advertising for years. Sales, sales manager. Newspaper inserts, mailbox coupons, local advertiser pubs, etc. Glad I did it. Glad I’m out.

    I learned sales from a few old-timers. Ditto sales management, at which I have no natural ability. Two I recall got into sales shortly after WWII. I suppose the money was there in the post-War boom, they had a knack for sales’s disciplined speech, and Corporate America didn’t suit them.

    They were among the shrewdest judges of people, and, I dare say, among the shrewdest judges of American character I’ve ever met.

    The only folks I’ve met who rate with them in the acuity of their judgment may be political campaign managers, whose cynicism about and contempt for the American public is remarkable.

  102. JMcG says:

    Advertising as world building. That’s exactly right and very well put.

  103. @indocon

    Google quietly bought Mastercard credit and debit card records

    Mind-blowing. And I thought I couldn’t be amazed anymore.

    Who uses cash nowadays? Their disclaimers are pointless.

  104. @J.Ross

    You are describing an infamous campaign (the diamonds, not the coffee jars), which worked in a more credulous age.

    About some things, people remain quite credulous. People still think a man is supposed to spend two, three, or more months’ worth of salary on a diamond which won’t be worth a fraction of what he pays for it.

    And these same diamond merchants now hawk “TCW” as though the aggregate weight of tiny worthless chips is similar to that of a single stone. People are credulous all right.

    Cue Jack & Kagan to tell us the goyim have it coming anyway.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  105. Cue Jack & Kagan to tell us the goyim have it coming anyway.

    Happy to oblige. So you think “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” is a trick the devious Jews are playing on the Goyim. You have doubtless observed that Jewish women wouldn’t be caught dead with diamonds. In fact a Jewish man attempting to betroth a Jewish woman with anything other than a Crackerjack box ring is derided as a Goyish kop.

    • LOL: JMcG
  106. Old Prude says:

    It has an effect: I stopped watching TV.

  107. Jack D says:
    @Mr McKenna

    The goyim have it coming anyway. No Jewish girl would ever ask her fiance for a diamond ring or even wear one. No, wait.

  108. tomv says:

    Wow. It bothers less that they do it than that they do it in the name of righteousness. At least the mobs don’t think of themselves as moral crusaders. Neither does Al Sharpton , nor perhaps even the SPLC.

    Self-ignorance is bliss.

  109. nymom says:

    I think it might be an interesting project for someone to investigate if on-line advertising has any impact on people’s purchasing decisions or even any impact on their donating more to various causes/groups…

    It remains to be seen if their followers are willing to purchase products and services (or donate to causes) advertised online; and, if not, what use is this whole ‘social influencer’ phenomenon…this is actually a thing now…could be a job in the future.

  110. nymom says:
    @UES guy

    It was probably done deliberately…but by the high school level most parents are not using the NYC public school system any longer unless their kids have been accepted into one of the science/tech schools or LaGuardia for Performing Arts…

    Upper Lab does not fall into that category.

  111. @ScarletNumber

    Chrome is itself a data collection engine. Which is why I use Brave.

  112. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Pat Kittle

    Japanese vehicle reliability, now that’s something tangible.

    The Japanese aren’t doing anything Americans couldn’t do, but what American car companies don’t want to do,which is to refine basic designs, use good materials, and hire and train competent workers.

    General Motors still makes what is probably the best overall car engine in the world for its size and power, the Gen V corporate V-8. But it doesn’t offer it in a passenger car chassis (except Corvette and Camaro) and the trucks that use it are not nearly as reliable as the competing Toyota. GM’s automatic transmission that mates with it is also quite good. But most other GM engines are junk.

    FCA is almost not even worth talking about since the resale of its cars are so dismal. Most of the problems bedeviling its cars are nickel and dime ones: cheap interiors, crappy switches, paint peeling, that sort of thing.

    Honda and Toyota have simply set new standards of durability and long term reliability in passenger cars, and Detroit has already conceded defeat, in essence.

    • Replies: @Pat Kittle
  113. @Paleo Liberal

    I hate marketing, unless it presents accurate useful information, which is hardly ever.

    All these simpleton campaign slogans are heralded as the product of “genius,” as if “genius” entails figuring out how far down to dumb a simpleton message.

  114. @Anonymous

    If a Japanese product proves unreliable, it’s primarily dealt with as a quality control problem.

    If an American product proves unreliable, it’s primarily dealt with as a marketing problem.

  115. J.Ross says:
    @Jim from TO

    How old are you (or in what time frame are you looking)? I watch old commercials for fun and know of quite a few that discuss the car. There’s one ad with of all people Jerry Orbach (the old guy from Law and Order Prime). During the late seventies and early eighties, as word got around that American manufacturers were letting quality slip while Japanese and European alternatives became available, a lot of effort went into describing the car’s merits. Gas mileage claims became standard.
    There is a specific cultural moment where clarity became simple and directness became gauche, marked by the Obsession-parody opening for A Bit of Fry and Laurie), and represented with cars in the first Infiniti campaigns. Before they had Jonathan Price shoot the thing with a rubber dart, and talk about the car, they created news by having a pure hype campaign which did not even show the car.

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