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What if Advertising on Google and Facebook (Or TV) Doesn't Much Work?
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Google and Facebook are immensely powerful, and are immensely rich because they sell huge amounts of advertising. Obviously, their ad revenue can’t be due in any substantial amount to a mass delusion that advertising on Google and Facebook works. It just can’t.

Here’s part of the immensely long transcript of a Freakonomics podcast with Dubner and Levitt in which they get various B-School academics to unload their suspicions that corporate America tends to spend way too much on advertising, both online and on TV:

Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 2: Digital) (Ep. 441)
November 25, 2020 @ 11:00pm
by Stephen J. Dubner

Google and Facebook are worth a combined \$2 trillion, with the vast majority of their revenue coming from advertising. In our previous episode, we learned that TV advertising is much less effective than the industry says. Is digital any better? Some say yes, some say no — and some say we’re in a full-blown digital-ad bubble.

In our previous episode, we learned that more than \$250 billion a year is spent in the U.S. on advertising. Globally, the figure is nearly \$600 billion. That’s more than half a trillion dollars. On advertising. Because of the digital revolution, television advertising has lost some of its primacy. But TV still accounts for roughly a third of ad spending in the U.S.; the Super Bowl alone brings in more than \$300 million.

And how effective is all that TV advertising? I mean, how good is it at actually selling the products it’s telling you to buy? The conventional wisdom says it’s got to be effective; why else would companies spend so much money on it? But the data tell a different story. Here’s what we heard last week from Anna Tuchman. She’s a marketing professor at Northwestern University, and she recently co-authored a massive study on the efficacy of TV advertising:

Anna TUCHMAN: This means that doubling the amount of advertising would lead to about a 1 percent increase in sales.

Stephen DUBNER: So, your research argues that TV advertising is about 15 to 20 times less effective than the conventional wisdom says, yes?

TUCHMAN: That’s right.

There are, not surprisingly, objections to this research. Especially from the marketing industry. For instance, they’ll point to the brand-building aspect of advertising: “It’s not just about short-term sales,” they’ll say. Or the game-theory aspect — that is, if you don’t advertise your product and your rivals do, where does that leave you? Still, any company that spends even thousands of dollars on TV ads, much less millions or billions, would have to be sobered by Anna Tuchman’s findings.

Was TV advertising always so inefficient — or did it lose its luster recently with the arrival of digital giants like Google and Facebook? We don’t know the answer to that question.

I’ve often recounted the curious tale of how in the 1980s I worked for a marketing research start-up that created perhaps the all time best real world lab for carrying out Randomized Controlled Trials.

In eight towns, we bought the new laser beam checkout scanners for all the supermarkets and drug stores in town in return for their cooperation. We recruited 3000 households in each town who agreed to identify themselves to the checkout clerk, so we could record all their consumer packaged goods shopping. And we controlled what TV commercials they saw on cable TV. So we could divide our sample into test and control groups that had exactly identical amounts of purchasing of the client’s product over the previous year and then show them more or different ads for a year and measure how much their purchasing increased.

Even today. this sounds like science fiction, but it was all up and running 40 years ago.

Brand managers at CPG firms were initially wildly enthusiastic: finally, they could scientifically prove to the beancounters at headquarters that their advertising is so effective that they should double their ad budgets!

But after a half decade of spectacular growth in our service, it turned out more or new advertising only rarely increased sales. And I don’t mean that doubling the ad budget only increased sales in the test group of thousands of families by, say, 7% over sales in the control group of families, and that didn’t quite payout in terms of profitability. No, I mean, the typical result was that the sales in the test cell that saw twice as many ads as the control cell bought 0.1% less.

I worked on two internal meta-analyses of our testing results. Sometimes, more or better advertising moved the needle. For example, I managed in the field the roll-out of a new brand extension that was chemically new and improved to a significant extent. The advertising explained that there was a problem that you didn’t know you have but now there’s a solution for it. Not surprisingly, that complex and useful message did better with more TV commercials explaining it.

But most of the time, the clients didn’t have new news like that to convey. It was just the same old product they’d been advertising on TV since 1947, so showing more ads did zip for sales.

My guess is that when CPG firms started advertising on TV in the late 1940s they were also frequently bringing out innovative new consumer packaged goods that benefited from massive television advertising explaining why this breakthrough product would make your life better (which it would — the life of the American housewife improved rapidly in the postwar era, in part due to much better products. Everybody today makes fun of old black and white TV ads in which housewives are ecstatic about their new laundry detergent or whatever, but the postwar actually was a golden age of reduction in the ancient drudgery of keeping a home).

For example, the CEO of my client had been a junior brand manager in the 1950s when he came up with a plan:

  1. Start putting fluoride in toothpaste to reduce cavities.
  2. Get the American Dental Association to endorse this innovative toothpaste.
  3. Advertise the hell out of the ADA’s endorsement.
  4. Profit.
  5. Become CEO eventually.

It worked.

But by the 1980s, innovations of that magnitude were harder to come by, so a lot of CPG advertising was then aimed less often at informing you why it would be in your self-interest to buy this new and improved product and more to persuade you to keep buying the same old thing.

Nor did hot new ads that the ad agency had guaranteed would excite the public move the sales needle very often. My vague recollection of our tests is that perhaps one ad starring Bill Cosby sold more product — Americans loved Bill Cosby in 1983. But I may have even that wrong.

But after about a half dozen years of brand managers’ hopes being routinely crushed by our scientific experiments, clients started losing interest in our superb testing service, and it was eventually shut down.

Before then, I had suggested to my client, a very big league marketer of famous consumer packaged goods brands, that they do more tests of cutting their advertising, as they had done in one test with zero harm to sales. But they replied that their firm believed in television advertising. (Also, no brand manager had ever become CEO by cutting his ad spending. You climbed the corporate ladder by convincing the big bosses to give you a bigger ad budget.)

… The internet has made it almost too easy to sell to us. And sell to us they do. Last year, advertisers spent \$123 billion on internet ads in the U.S., just less than half the total ad spending across all media. That’s how Facebook and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, have become two of the most valuable companies in the world. More than 80 percent of Google’s revenue comes from advertising; more than 98 percent of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising. With so many advertisers spending so many billions, they must be getting a healthy return on their investment, right? So, digital advertising must be effective, right?

Steve TADELIS: Uh.

Tim HWANG: Um.


HWANG: “Oh, ads definitely work. But we can’t tell you how or why or give you any evidence for it.”

Dubner goes on to talk to some B-school academics about how it’s hard to get a straight answer out of anybody on this giant question.

My guess is that because it’s super easy to do the kind of A/B testing on the Internet that we could do with TV ads in the 1980s that digital advertisers must know their ads work. Right? Right?

By the way, back in 1996 the Chief Operating Officer of our company was quitting to become a Silicon Valley start-up founder, but he didn’t have an idea what to found. In his negotiations with the firm, he got the right to take one employee with him, so he chose me. He asked me what we should do, so I told him we should do A/B testing on the Internet. We know more about how to do A/B testing on TV than anybody else in the world, so we’ll figure out how to do it on the Internet.

But then I got cancer and couldn’t quit and make my fortune. Oh, well …

… Tadelis took his concerns back to his bosses at eBay. He proposed a different way to understand the impact of the online ads eBay was buying: he offered to run some randomized experiments. To a researcher, that’s the gold standard.

TADELIS: And there was not any buy-in.

Eventually, they got eBay to do some RCTs:

They turned off all their keyword-search ads, then measured actual sales:

TADELIS: And the impact on average was pretty much zero.

What was eBay’s existing belief about paid-search advertising?

TADELIS: The company believed that roughly 5 percent of sales were driven by paid-search advertising, meaning that they believed that if we would pull the plug on advertising, sales would drop by 5 percent. What we found was that sales dropped by about half a percent. So, that’s an order of magnitude less. And it was not statistically different from zero.

But maybe it’s still worth it to gain even that half a percent? Now we have to know what the advertising costs, and measure the return on investment.

TADELIS: When you did the return on investment for every dollar that eBay spends — eBay believed that for every dollar they’re spending, they’re getting roughly a dollar-and-a-half back, meaning 50 cents of net profits. And what we showed is that on average, they’re losing more than 60 cents on every dollar.

So, how did these results go over?

TADELIS: Well, the president of eBay, who later became the C.E.O., he cut the paid-search marketing budget immediately by \$100 million a year.

So, what happened next? You might think — what with capitalism being the hyper-competitive, market-optimizing, perfect-information ecosystem it’s supposed to be — you might think that other companies, once they learned about this eBay research, would cut their online ad spending. Or at least commission their own research to test the theories. So, did they?

TADELIS: Excellent question. There was a lot of chatter online after our experiments became public, suggesting that folks at eBay don’t know what they’re doing. And paid-search advertising works wonderfully if you know how to do it. But of course, that was backed with no data and no analysis.

In other words, the digital-ad community did not rush to replicate the results. Now, given the opportunity to save millions of dollars that the eBay research showed was being wasted, why wouldn’t other companies at least poke their own data a little harder?

TADELIS: Well, I think there are many reasons. Let’s start with the way in which this industry is structured. You could think of four different actors here. There’s the customer, which is the company or the person who wants to advertise in order to get business. And then you have three players sitting on the other side of this market. One is the publishers. That would be Google. That would be The New York Times, or any other place where the ad appears in front of people. The other are the people who create ads. And then finally a smaller part of the industry are these analytics companies that, like that company eBay hired, are trying to help companies spend this money. And if you think of all these three players on the other side of the fence, no one there has an incentive to basically open this Pandora’s box.

Even within the company that’s buying the ads, the incentives can be complicated. Steve Levitt again:

LEVITT: If you think about it, no chief marketing officer is ever going to say, “Hey, I don’t know, maybe ads don’t work. Let’s just not do them and see what happens.” So, don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying that advertising doesn’t work. I’m implying that we don’t have a very good idea about how well it works.

Steve Tadelis agrees. The potential for digital advertising would seem especially large, given its ability to micro-target consumers.

TADELIS: And targeting really is key because one of the lessons we learned from the experiments at eBay was that people who never shopped on eBay, they were very much influenced by having eBay ads for non-brand keywords. You know, “guitar, “chair,” “studio microphone.”

So if you can find somebody who is looking to buy a guitar but who doesn’t normally think about looking on eBay, then you’ve hit marketing gold. At least in theory.

… HWANG: A few years back, Procter & Gamble, which is one of the largest advertisers in the world, decided that they would run a little experiment. They were going to take about \$200 million of their digital-ad spending and just cut it out of their budget to see what happened.

Procter & Gamble said they were doing this because of concerns over brand safety and the proliferation of bots, which can pollute the data on ad impressions.

HWANG: And the end result was fascinating. Basically, they said that there was no noticeable impact on their bottom line.

Again, the ad industry will have a lot of explanations for why this might be. Or for why there’s a lot of value in advertising beyond short-term sales figures. But Procter & Gamble is a big player. Even if they’re wrong, even to a small degree — they’re the ones whose money drives the advertising ecosystem. What would happen if this turned into a mass movement among advertisers? One shouldn’t underestimate the size and reach of the advertising ecosystem. The sports you watch on TV: supported by ads. The journalism you consume: supported by ads, at least much of it. Google Maps and Google Drive and — well, Google: supported by ads. As well as Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and nearly everything else you consume online and don’t pay for. Including this podcast and just about every other podcast you listen to.

This was back during the Cola Wars of the 1980s, which led to the New Coke fiasco and Michael Jackson’s hair on fire.

It’s possible that our methodology wasn’t good at measuring what really matters to advertisers like Coke and Pepsi, which is persuading impressionable young people to decide, “I’m a Pepsi person” or whatever and thus become a lifelong loyalist. Our main panelists were typically the mother in the family. Maybe what really matters is getting a 16 year old girl to decide that she, unlike her mom the Pepsi buyer, is a Coke drinker?

Warren Buffett made a fortune buying Coke stock because of the company’s huge brand equity from 90 years of advertising: even if Coke wasn’t making a lot of money right now, somebody would come along and figure out how to make more money off the Coke brand, which eventually happened.

Anyway, it’s all very curious. After all these decades, I still really don’t know what to think.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Advertising, Facebook, Google, Television 
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  1. Forget about HBD. Forget about The Bell Curve. Forget about the upsurge in urban shootings. Forget about baseball statistics. Forget about golf course architecture.

    If the Oligarchical State ever decides to shut this site down and dox every last one of us commenting here, it will be because of the revelation of the utter indifference of consumers to TV and Internet advertising.

  2. I listened to those freakonomics podcasts about 6 months ago.

    It seems to me like advertising may not increase sales, but it enables manufacturers to charge higher prices for products that are widely advertised, and presumably the profit from the higher prices compensates for the cost of advertising and more.

    For example Procter & Gamble’s Pampers diapers are much more expensive than a generic brand.

    Here in Ecuador I can buy two brands of toothpaste in the supermarket. I can buy Colgate for \$3, or Kolynos for \$1. As far as I can see they are both the same.

    I remember seeing Kolynos in Woolworths in England 60 years ago and had not seen it since. It was always cheaper than Colgate, Macleans, or Pepsodent which will heavily advertised on TV.

  3. Anon[314] • Disclaimer says:

    Why does anyone actually look at digital ads?? I have Adblock on everything and almost never see them. On the rare occasions when I turn it off or use someone else’s computer, I feel like I’m in the digital equivalent of the Las Vegas Strip with all of the popups, auto-play videos, etc. The internet browsing experience becomes laughably worse.

    There must be something I’m missing…this is baffling to me. I don’t understand why there isn’t 100% adoption of ad blockers overnight, which would kill the main business model of the internet.

  4. MSG says:

    Second sentence is unfinished.

  5. Anonymous[119] • Disclaimer says:

    Apparently Ben Shapirowow thinks it works, as he’s one of FB’s biggest customers of ad buys… I think this has less to do with Daily Wire specifically, than a critical mass of Facebooking boomers starved for pwning-the-lib headlines of the type considered infra dig by Fox and OANN— it’s a cleaned-up grandmother-approved Infowars/Breitbart format (yet somehow even cattier)

    • Agree: Josh Kenn
    • Replies: @J.Ross
  6. guest007 says:

    I side issue with online marketing is the question of whether the influencers actually manage to influence anyone. How many young women are making Tik Tok or Youtube videos about make up, clothes, or shoes? Does this type of indirect advertising really work? Or are the influencers just a more modern version of older grifts?

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @Cortes
    , @Pericles
    , @Thoughts
  7. Dreamed into Reality

    Wernher von Braun explains the possibility to reach the Moon. Man and the Moon (1956)

    Footprints on the Moon (1969)


    Juy 24, 1969

    Apollo Lunar Landing Sites

    • Thanks: El Dato
    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @SunBakedSuburb
  8. Joneses says:

    This seems like a strong argument against Google ads but not against Facebook ads? Maybe I am missing something but do they address the latter specifically or is it all about Google keywords?

  9. But Facebook ads determined the 2016 election, right?

    Or are “memes” not really ads?

    • Agree: VivaLaMigra
    • Replies: @Anon
    , @epebble
  10. Jack D says:

    There is a whole niche of “legacy brands” such as Pepsodent toothpaste that no longer advertise or advertise very little. When brands get tired, they often get offloaded by a major firm to one of the small players that specializes in these brands.

    The thing is this – the brands that do not advertise have a small and shrinking share of the market. Basically, they are relying on those customers who were advertised to 50 years ago in their youth.

    Only 3 brands of toothpaste (Crest, Sensodyne and Colgate) control maybe half the market – these are all heavily advertised. (Each brand has a bunch of variations – “3D white”, “Total” and each variation comes in different flavors, gel or paste, etc. – the idea is to crowd out competitors with your own brands, the way that back in the day you might buy an Olds or a Buick but either way GM got your \$.) So all ten of the top ten brands are different varieties of the Big 3. The remaining half is split up among dozens of smaller brands. Every once in a while a disruptive competitor appears with an actual innovation (or one that consumers find appealing – Toms “natural” toothpaste) but this is rare. The Big 3 make so much noise that it’s impossible for any other brand to make much headway thru advertising. If you hear 20 Crest commercials to 1 Pepsodent commercial, Pepsodent is just not going to register. Stopping advertising for a few months in an experiment isn’t going to move the needle – you have had a LIFETIME of brainwashing to buy Crest (or Colgate).

  11. Anonymous[100] • Disclaimer says:

    Nationalize Facebook.

    • Replies: @B36
  12. Somr of the best advertising is word of mouth.

    • Agree: Che Guava
  13. Chriscom says:

    One of the study’s authors, Bradley Shapiro, spoke up on Twitter. His handle is @btshapir. He says:

    (1) Paper doesn’t say advertising can never be profitable. For most brands, there *is* a place on our estimated ad response curve that would be positive total ROI.

    It’s just that most brands in our sample advertise far beyond that point.

    (2) The paper *doesn’t* say that advertising has precisely 0 effect on every individual who watches an ad. It says that the aggregate effect is typically sufficiently small that it is (statistically) clear that most firms are advertising *too much* given cost

    (3) The paper also *doesn’t* say that advertising can’t be improved with better ad copy, better scheduling or better measurement practices. We don’t evaluate advertising strategies that are far outside the support of the data.

    (4) Finally, if your brand advertises for reasons other than creating product sales (e.g., recruiting talented labor, signaling solvency to investors, etc), our estimates can’t really help you evaluate the returns on those margins.

    • Thanks: Catdog
    • Replies: @anon
    , @Inquiring Mind
  14. jb says:

    Why would we want the main business model of the internet to die? Would it be better if all content were behind paywalls? That would drastically diminish the usefulness of the internet, at least for people like me who use it primarily as a source of information. Ads don’t bother me. I see paywalls as the enemy, not ads, and I’d be happiest if people stopped using ad blockers entirely.

    • Replies: @guest007
    , @Anonymous
    , @Spect3r
  15. @Anon

    I don’t know how anyone can consume popular media, let alone TV commercials, let alone internet ads. Nor can I understand how everyone seems passively oblivious to the the constant awful background “music” that is inexplicably pumped into every public space (airplanes, airports, hotel lobbies, stores, etc.).

    I used to think it was that everyone’s retarded; now I suspect it’s just my irritable asperginess and everyone else is simply more chill. In any event…

    This whole ad thing strikes me as an Emperor’s New Clothes thing. I.e., so many have invested so much–financially, professionally, personally–into the faith (using the term specifically, as that’s all it seems to be) that advertising sells product that they can’t begin to admit they’ve all, collectively, been living a lie.

    It’s kind of like some oddball faith community that finds its core tenets being called into question: If they give the heretics any oxygen, they run the risk of all having egg on their faces. Always easier to ignore–if not burn–the heretic than to say, “You know what? He’s right–this is all bullshit and we’re all idiots.”

  16. I worked at an advertising agency for a number of years and we ourselves weren’t sure how well advertising worked. Every once in awhile we came up with something that made a discernible difference, usually when we found that we could make a legitimate claim about a product that gave it an advantage over the competition.

    Our biggest client was Procter & Gamble. For the brand managers we worked with, advertising was the fun part of their job. They got to evaluate our creative presentations and, once a decision was made, go on a shoot to someplace like Los Angeles or Vancouver and enjoy an all-expenses-paid week staying in a luxury hotel, eating at the best restaurants, and hob-mobbing with quasi-show-biz people. The director might have directed a few movies or a few episodes of The Sopranos, so having dinner with him would be entertaining. The brand managers were definitely pro-advertising.

    • Thanks: ic1000
  17. Google keywords advertising is pretty good. If someone is looking for “online poker” it is extremely worthwhile being at the top of their search list. Just as if someone is looking for a casino, it is extremely worthwhile being the closest one to where they live.

    Advertising to induce desires, rather than to reduce the friction of purchase, is mostly nonsense. People just don’t work like that.

    There is an exception. Where you convince people that your product or service will achieve their desires or aims. This works better on the corporate level, rather than individual, because it is harder to evaluate.

    It also pays to know what people’s real aims are and to try to fulfill those. They often don’t have a clue.

    • Agree: Philip Owen
  18. UNIT472 says:

    Lot of things going on in this topic.

    Brand is IMPORTANT. There is a reason Heinz Ketchup and French’s Mustard sell. People know the product and are comfortable with it. Maybe a year or so ago Heinz tried to muscle in on French’s territory and sell mustard. Don’t think it worked. At least I don’t see Heinz Mustard in the condiment aisle now. Grocery store shelf space is a premium commodity so giving some of it up to challenge another brand may not be worth it.

    Did Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry or iPhone ever have to ‘advertise’ cellphones or did the product sell itself because they were ‘must have’ ?

    High end consumer goods require a lot of commitment on the part of the buyer. Growing up a company called Gilbert made a lot money selling ‘science’ equipment sets to children. Dad’s might buy their kids a ‘chemistry set’ or microscope for Christmas in the hope it would be better than a toy the child would grow bored with and fan an interest in ‘science’ but after looking at a slide of blood or finding out you couldn’t make explosives, it too went into the closet to be forgotten. The same issue exists for adult toys. A \$5,000 Meade Telescope might seem like the thing to have but unless you are really going to devote yourself to staying out in the cold to study the sky or buy thousands of dollars worth of celestial photography gear it too will end up in the closet though advertising might just get some to spend the money on the telescope.

  19. I pretty much ignore the ads that make it past my ad blocker, so I don’t pay much attention to online advertising. I also rarely watch TV, listen to the radio, or read newspapers or magazines. My guess is that store music and packaging would be as influential as mass advertisements. I buy what I like, and I read product reviews to make decisions on more expensive items.

    When I do see good/witty advertisements, they often overshadow the products to the point where I remember the ad and not the product. Product comparison ads seemed to be the most effective to me, but I don’t think anybody does those anymore.

    • Replies: @Orville H. Larson
  20. @Matthew Kelly

    I used to think it was that everyone’s retarded

    Just the man in the mirror

    • Troll: Hangnail Hans
    • Replies: @Matthew Kelly
  21. Anon[944] • Disclaimer says:

    I have seen tons of ads online, some even today. I cannot recall what any of them were for.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
  22. MarkinLA says:

    Maybe, like so much of the deep state, the advertising “revenue” of Google and Facebook are just invented numbers to give the CIA’s and NSA’s primary means of spying on everybody an air of legitimacy. By consistently “increasing” revenue the stock price rises and the deep state gets a twofer. The people being spied upon pay for their own surveillance.

    • Agree: Polemos, Sarah
  23. This is closer to the topic. Black Trumpster blames Big Tech for enabling Democrat race-baiting.

    Advertising is notoriously cynical, but it’s also effective with the masses. Doesn’t need to be effective with tiny segments of the population. That’s almost never the goal.

  24. anon[398] • Disclaimer says:

    4) Finally, if your brand advertises for reasons other than creating product sales (e.g., recruiting talented labor, signaling solvency to investors, etc), our estimates can’t really help you evaluate the returns on those margins.


  25. @UNIT472

    Brand is IMPORTANT. There is a reason Heinz Ketchup and French’s Mustard sell.

    Many years ago Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article why Grey Poupon was able to crack the mustard market, but no one could break the Heinz oligopoly. Personally I think French’s is awful. I only buy Gulden’s.

    Heinz tried to muscle in on French’s territory and sell mustard. Don’t think it worked.

    I’m sure it’s because they got a price break on it, but my local college cafeteria has only Heinz condiments. This includes mustard and mayo. For me, it’s Hellmann’s or nothing.

    The same issue exists for adult toys.

    I certainly wasn’t thinking of \$5000 telescopes 😉

  26. Anon[369] • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Magarac

    For \$100k in Facebook ads, Russia was supposedly able to affect the outcome of the 2016 election according to Dems/libs. According to Democrat congressman Steve Israel, Russian Facebook ads “subliminally legitimized” Trump.


    …“And it worked,” Israel added. “A large number of Obama voters swung to [Donald] Trump, and these ads propelled them.” They might not have been convinced by the quality of the arguments put forward by Russia-backed groups, like one calling Hillary Clinton “anti-police” and ”anti-Constitutional,” but they saw those arguments become normalized. “In a way, I think these swing voters were uncomfortable with Trump’s rhetoric, but suddenly saw it validated in these ads,” he continued. “They subliminally legitimized his ravings for swing voters, and pushed doubters in the Republican base back to him.”

  27. UNIT472 says:

    I wasn’t commenting on the superiority of Heinz or French’s condiments. Just their market dominance. Myself, I like Colman’s mustard but its hard to find and, as these things go not cheap. The point is mom buys French’s mustard because she can put it on her children’s hot dogs or sandwiches and not get complaints. Grey Poupon looks strange and will generate complaints and Colman’s is ‘too hot’ and too expensive.

    Celestron and Meade dominate the consumer telescope market. Meade has a bit more cachet.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    , @Anonymouse
  28. Online advertising likely earns a negative ROI for the vast majority of advertisers. Here are some great reads on the extraordinary scam that is online advertising:

    In fact there is a book, published in 2020 on this very topic:

  29. Ken52 says:

    “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. attributed to Wanamaker.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Currahee
  30. jamie b. says:

    I’ll never understand how car and truck advertising could possibly make any sense. Your choices are rather limited anyway, and people just don’t buy vehicles that often.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
  31. t says:

    OT Chicago police bring back Orwellian named “merit” promotions:

    • Replies: @Pericles
  32. Jack D says:

    Heinz has also tried selling mayonnaise. It’s actually a decent product. This is called “Brand extension.” People already know and trust the Heinz name (at least in the condiment space – the brand probably wouldn’t extend to say cars or power tools) vs. if you were trying to sell “Steve’s Mayonnaise”. Often (formerly) famous names such as Westinghouse or Bell & Howell (and even GE) will license their names to some 3rd party for this reason. The risk is that the licensed product (some cheap Chinese powerstrip) is junk and will degrade GE’s valuable name in say the jet engine field.

    • Replies: @UNIT472
  33. @Jonathan Mason

    Here in Ecuador I can buy two brands of toothpaste in the supermarket. I can buy Colgate for \$3, or Kolynos for \$1. As far as I can see they are both the same.

    I remember seeing Kolynos in Woolworths in England 60 years ago and had not seen it since.

    Is Darkie still available? I don’t think they advertise much anymore.

  34. I don’t know how you would do it, but investigating major brands that lost market share in spite of advertising might provide some insight.

    Specifically, I’m thinking of Gillette.

    The narrative (on the right, at least) is that Gillette went woke with their advertising and as a result lost market share and then P&G had to write off most of the Gillette acquisition costs.

    The reality is that Gillette was losing market share for about five years before the trans advertising and the advertisement was a (crazy) last ditch effort to get sales up.

    I’m sure that Gillette was advertising all during the market share drop — this is what P&G does. But it clearly wasn’t enough to overcome … what?

    Some summary financial data is here:

    I’m sure there are other examples of this …

    • Replies: @Brutusale
  35. The advertising on PlutoTV by the usual suspects certainly seems to be designed to stimulate the
    TV manufacturers. I am immensely proud that I didn’t break at least two TV sets in the aftermath of the ’20 election.

  36. I may be mistaken, but the car company with the best (in my opinion) marketing, Tesla, spends zero dollars on advertising.

    Usually when I see a product advertised, I tend to avoid that product, because clearly they’re putting money into the airwaves instead of into the product.

    My general approach is to buy the cheapest version of a product, see if it meets my needs, if not, upgrade to the next cheapest, until I find something that works for the minimum cost.

    Anyway, advertising only works on morons, but then again, that’s who you want as a customer. They’ll overpay. Hence all the black people in every damn commercial.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    , @Malla
  37. Thank you for writing about your experiences in this “industry”. I have only been on the receiving end so all of what I’ve been thinking about the advertising business is just hunches. Those hunches strongly agree with you.

    Did advertising lose its effectiveness by the time of your experiments, or early simply because Americans just got tired of being bullshitted? For TV, maybe that was even earlier, by the mid 1970’s.

    For the internet, well, as with commenters above, not only do I try to avoid ads with software, but I avoid sites (mostly they are the local-TV and local newspaper news sites) that have shit flying around the screen for a minute that make me go to another tab until it settles down. Sometimes, I’ll try to grab the little bit of text before it moves again, a real shitshow. My eyes will avoid any kind of ads now, as if they are programmed to. Internet net ads not only don’t work for me, I believe they are a net negative.

    Back to TV, I know there was discussion long ago on these threads. I’ve seen that British lizard, and he’s pretty funny, I don’t mind saying, but I have to think hard – “oh, Gekko! Oh, Geico! OK, got it, but… what difference does that make? I called them long ago and they wanted to know my old policy information and I told them to piss off. How’s this cute lizard gonna help?”

    On the youtube videos, 10% of the time, there’s that guy in the yellow shirt with that ostrich. I now like ostriches. Great, but what’s the guy selling. I am not lying when I write that I would have to think really hard to get the name of the outfit being advertised, though I do know it’s insurance, after seeing the guy and his ostrich over 100 times. Maybe, I’ll see if the wife can get us some ostrich meat. Those commercials are making me hungry. They say it tastes like chicken, same as Kimodo Dragon.

  38. UNIT472 says:
    @Jack D

    Very true. Remember the “Cadillac” Cimarron? Cadillac had spent decades distinguishing itself as the premier American luxury car. Then it decided to build an ‘entry’ level Cadillac that torched its brand.

    No genuine ‘Cadillac’ buyer wanted an ‘entry level’ Cadillac. Better to buy a used genuine Cadillac than a downscale knock off.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  39. There are many problems with online advertising:

    (1) The Internet is vastly different from television. With television one would watch one carefully produced thirty second brand advertisement after another. You had little choice — the content stopped until the ads were done. We knew all the jingles.

    Who watches long brand ad videos online? I don’t think I’ve watched the majority of a brand ad online at any time in the last 10 years, and I am online a great deal.

    (2) With the Internet, you can scroll down or look at a different part of the screen and mentally skip over the ad. Does anyone pause to study and take in the ads on the page? I don’t know anyone like this.

    (3) Ad effectiveness is almost impossible to measure to begin with. But how can an ad possibly be effective if almost nobody looks at online ads? Do they emit special signals in another dimension that enter our brains while we sleep? You have to look at the ad for it to have any chance of working and almost nobody does that.

    (4) Nobody has any trouble finding products. Search engines make it trivial to find any product you desire and to research products. The most effective influencer for online purchases is the reviews and ratings by other consumers, but spending money with Facebook or Google won’t help with this.

    (5) Many click-throughs involve people who would already be customers. If you are searching for Air Jordans, a bunch of paid Nike ads will come up and it will look like those ads have an incredible click-through rate. But you were already looking for Nike shoes anyway. Google and Facebook have much-celebrated microtargeting, but what they do much of the time is simply find out who is buying (for example) shoes and then make it look like they have generated a sale which was already happening on its own.

    If Nike didn’t advertise on Google, it would still be easy for everyone to find Nike shoes.

    It is extraordinary that Google and Facebook attack conservatives so frequently by censorship when they stand on such a frail foundation. If conservatives fight in them, they would call out the blatant fraud of Internet advertising and really hit these companies hard. Facebook and Google, which derive most of their money from online ads, are really on a terrible foundation.

    • Replies: @dononuthing
  40. @Matthew Kelly

    You need to know, Matthew, that ScarletNumber here HATES HATES HATES people on here that have permanently turned off, or even badmouthed, the idiot plate. He’ll pop a [Troll] on me most times for my sacrilege about it. Something makes me think he sells cable for a living. #TalkAboutcherBadTiming!

    • LOL: Matthew Kelly, TKK
    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
  41. What if Advertising on Google and Facebook (Or TV) Doesn’t Much Work?

    What if some of us were saying this years ago while Steve the Noticer was still licking the nutsacks of the oligarchs and telling us what great businessmen and Cowboy Americans they were?

    • Replies: @anon
    , @tyrone
  42. Last year, advertisers spent \$123 billion on internet ads in the U.S., just less than half the total ad spending across all media.

    Call it \$250 billion total: doesn’t that represent a sizeable tax on the American consumer?

    Call 2020 consumer spending \$14 billion and it’s like 1.75%. Factoring in marketing department overheads and it might be more.

    Would consumer spending decrease by all that much if we eliminated all advertising and put ad men on the dole? The world would certainly be a much nicer place (unless you were an ad man).

    Sometimes I wonder whether certain jobs – advertising, HR, etc – only exist to provide certain people with something to do. A century ago, Keynes was predicting automation would all but eliminate work, and we’d all be free to do crosswords and go to the opera. Maybe the government decided we’d get too unruly with so much time on our hands, so they invented office jobs to distract us.

  43. Dan Eggum says:

    In online sales you can immediately see if it works as you pay per click, and you can see how many (and which) clicks lead to a sale.

    Unsecured lenders in Norway pay google up to 150usd for a single click, of which maybe 1/5 lead to a new loan, and its still profitable.

    There is a lot of outrage against the lenders for their high interest and profitability, but its really google running off with the main prize.

  44. @SimpleSong

    I don’t think it is that simple.

    Although I didn’t watch much TV and particularly not much commercial TV, I still remember the tv ads for so many brand name products which were household names, and presumably overpriced on the strength of their TV advertising.

    For example Weetabix cereal, Oxo stock cubes, Bistro gravy mix, Ovaltine, After Eight mints, Babycham champagne perry, Heinz baked beans, HP sauce, Sharwood’s Green Label Chutney, Hovis Brown bread, Ambrosia creamed rice, Lucozade, Robinson’s Barley Water, Scotts porage oats, Mr Kipling’s cakes, Kit-Cat, Yorkies, Cadbury’s fruit and nut, Typhoo Tea, were all seen not so much as overpriced products, but as part of the way of life, and probably still are, and yet 40 years after I left England, they are still part of my consciousness.

    And I really didn’t watch TV very much.

  45. Hhsiii says:

    The AFLAC duck ads doubled sales in 3 years. Go figure.

  46. @ScarletNumber

    “Many years ago Malcolm Gladwell wrote an article why Grey Poupon was able to crack the mustard market, but no one could break the Heinz oligopoly. ”

    Not just Grey Poupon, but the entire mustard market got expanded to multiple flavors. Everything else did, too, because it turns out there’s not one perfect mustard or one perfect spaghetti sauce. There is, however, one perfect catsup.

    “There are five known fundamental tastes in the human palate: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami. Umami is the proteiny, full-bodied taste of chicken soup, or cured meat, or fish stock, or aged cheese, or mother’s milk, or soy sauce, or mushrooms, or seaweed, or cooked tomato. …When Heinz moved to ripe tomatoes and increased the percentage of tomato solids, he made ketchup, first and foremost, a potent source of umami. Then he dramatically increased the concentration of vinegar, so that his ketchup had twice the acidity of most other ketchups; now ketchup was sour, another of the fundamental tastes. The post-benzoate ketchups also doubled the concentration of sugar—so now ketchup was also sweet—and all along ketchup had been salty and bitter. …What Heinz had done was come up with a condiment that pushed all five of these primal buttons. The taste of Heinz’s ketchup began at the tip of the tongue, where our receptors for sweet and salty first appear, moved along the sides, where sour notes seem the strongest, then hit the back of the tongue, for umami and bitter, in one long crescendo. How many things in the supermarket run the sensory spectrum like this?”

    It’s not that Heinz dominates because of superior marketing. It’s because the call for catsup doesn’t lend itself to variation.

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @stillCARealist
  47. utu says:

    Advertising by large corporations is a racket to subsidize the free “entertainment” to the people who otherwise would not pay for it. Media most import function is indoctrination via entertainment. Corporations also have say about media content.

    Generic adds by huge conglomerates about some goodness of them or of the world are perfect examples when corporations are paying just to subsidize media and getting nothing in return except piece of mind.

    Now the question is if something bad happens to companies that would refuses to participate in the racket? Examples?

    • Agree: Sarah
  48. It’s been obvious to me for three decades that the entire business case for marketing/advertising is predicated on a deliberately false premise – viz., that the effiicacy of ad-spend is based on measured increases in revenue (i.e., sales), rather than an EPS-relevant metric like EBIT (I didn’t say EBITDA because on of the tricks of ad-hucksters is to claim that advertising has ‘tail’ effects and so should be subject to amortization rather than direct expense).

    Consider two firms that generate the same current level of earnings per share.

    Let’s make it really easy and assume that both firms have the same cost structure – and so they have the same EBIT margin: let’s set that pretty high – at 20% of revenue (Stern’s US data indicates that excluding financials, the average pre-tax adjusted operating margin is under 10%; the average pre-tax gross margin is ~30%).

    Firm A then decides to spend an amount equal to 5% of revenue, advertising their product.

    Well guess what? If advertising is expensed, firm A’s EBIT/share drops by 25% straight off the bat.

    In order to obtain the same EBIT margin, the firm that does the advertising must cnrease sales by significantly more than the amount of ad-spend: it must increase sales by AdSpend/EBITMargin.

    The higher the initial EBIT margin (i.e., the more monopolistic the firm), the lower the
    ‘hurdle’ for advertising to be EPS-accretive: it will almost never be accretive for firms in highly-competitiveonsumer-oriented industries (characterised by operating margins lower than the US average).

    However most C-suites are retarded – so they are simply not amenable to this argument. That’s because most officeholders are primarily politicians rather than genuine technocrats; they are happier with systems of ‘belief’ rather than systems with a genuine evidentiary basis.

    Back in the olden days (late last millennium), some colleagues and I did some work for a major dishwashing-powder firm, evaluating the efficiacy of ad-spend on revenue: even assuming a distributed-lead mechanism (whereby each year’s ad-spend had a required lower bound that re-filled some ‘reservoir’ of ‘brand awareness’, which had to be topped up lest everyone forget the brand), we could find zero statistical addition to revenue (which in turn meant ad-spend detracted from net revenue per share… bear in mind that net revenue per share is the entire fucking objective of capitalism).

    Our conclusion was the people in ‘marketing’ divisions were primarily motivated by returns to themselves, not returns to the firm. In effect, they behave more like employees of the companies that make ads, not the companies that pay their salaries.

    This means that marketing-tards – like HR-tards – are a Fifth Column inside every large organisation, seeking to divert productivity towards their own little empires within the OrgChart.

    Perfectly understandable, but basically an institutional cancer – and almost entirely a doxastic endeavour (i.e., exploiting and reinforcing the belief that a smart-arse TV jingle will convince people to pay more for dishwasing liquid: I’m firmly convinced that although housewives are stupid, they’re still prince-sensitive).

    It doesn’t help that advertising companies spend a small (tax-deductible) fortune taking senior C-suite to sportsball games, ‘gala’ events and what-not. The upside for us – lowly, ivory-tower academic econometricians – was that we got to be in a corporate box for two State of Origin rugby league games, one Bledisloe Cup match, and the AFL Grand FInal.

    So, win-win.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  49. Somewhat OT, feel free to not approve, but a movie that checks several of your boxes is on Hulu if you have that. “The Congress” (the 2013 one with Robin Wright). If you haven’t seen it, run, do not walk, as the expression goes …

  50. Anon[414] • Disclaimer says:

    Until recently I ran an internet site that made most of its income from Google AdSense. I’ve also used Google AdWords and Facebook to advertise.

    My experience is that Google AdWords and Facebook ads didn’t work at all for the sort of stuff we were advertising.

    As far as AdSense, I don’t know any numbers so I might be wrong, but I think that large corporation brand advertising is only a minor part of internet advertising.

    Most internet advertising is from smaller companies who are selling something online. They will test to determine the customer acquisition cost using ads on your website. In other words, how many ad displays times average cost of an ad display to get one person to do whatever they want them to do, usually buy something, but sometimes register with their data somewhere. The ad buyer can easily figure the CAC out. The ad buyer will have a number in mind, and you either meet it and get their ads, or you don’t and they move on. A typical number would be \$20. For a spend of \$20,000 they want 1,000 people to buy something.

    We had some advertisers who were very happy with CACs of \$80. They wanted a customer to make an initial trial order at an introductory price that probably didn’t earn the advertiser any profit. But they knew that the average customer would be back three times. And they had the person on their e-mail list to hit again in a year.

    So, yeah, advertising on the internet is brutally numbers oriented. I never saw anyone buying ads for branding purposes. Television might be different. So the idea that Google AdWords and Facebook ads are ineffective is not reality, in my opinion.

    I’m trying to think of who Dubner and Levitt might talk to to get the real story, but it’s a secretive world. Online ad agencies are one-upping other online ad agencies and they all are trying to game Google in various ways, and Google is constantly changing the rules, and there is a tie-in with SEO (gray hat and black hat). One vector is that online ads are keyed to search terms. What are the popular search terms used for different categories? Google used to have an AdWords site where you could search for keywords. Then obfuscation started. Then expensive third-party tools sprung up. Then Google started going after third-party tools. Another vector is that Google will not show ads if the bid price is too low. You’ll start out getting placements and then all of a sudden your ads aren’t showing. The minimum bid price has risen

    An upshot of this is that mere humans can no longer run effective Google AdWords campaigns. Online ads are now so complicated that you need a company trained in the dark arts. And I don’t think these people are talking to the media.


    I read a version of the toothpaste legend in this book in the 1990s. I stopped using toothpaste then, the book so convinced me that the product was an unnecessary scam. I have continuously flossed and brushed, and my teeth are fine, maybe one cavity and a couple of filling replacements since then, and I still have all my teeth.

    • Thanks: ruralguy
    • Replies: @BigDickBandit
  51. I think search ads and their placement do have value in on-line advertising, but this is the only case where the prospective customer is looking for information about products, prices, and availability. I think the vast majority of the rest of it not related to pornography is wasted. I don’t watch any television commercials at all- they are either forwarded through or muted, and I can’t tell you what ads I see online at all- I don’t read them, I don’t pay attention to them unless they are some outlandish product I would never buy in the first place. Advertisers are con artists, and their marks are the people buying the ads.

  52. epebble says:
    @Joe Magarac

    What’s more, 74% of the unvaccinated group said they’d still reject a COVID-19 vaccine, even if their own doctor recommended it. The poll, which took place July 14-17, included more than 2,200 U.S. adults.

    So, per Biden (‘They’re killing people”), 100 million Americans want to commit suicide because Facebook says so. That seems to make Facebook sound powerful.

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
  53. @Kratoklastes

    LOL… typo: housewives are price-sensitive.

    Of course they’re also prince-sensitive – hence HousewifeTV‘s daily saturation coverage of the doings of the ‘Royal’ family, and the vast number of pages in the dross that passes for women’s magazines.

    • Replies: @Old and Grumpy
  54. Alden says:

    Those girly make up, hair cutting, and hair styling, sewing a complete garment or just restyling a piece of clothing, like cutting off long sleeves and making them into a belt aren’t advertising.

    It’s a return to old fashioned self sufficiency and do it yourself. It’s good. Especially the hair. Just let it grow and style it in braids and buns and swirls. Those videos will put hairdressers out of business.

    There’s a lot of simple furniture making like book shelves coffee tables remodeling old furniture too. For men and women both Plus more for men simple electricity plumbing drywall etc. Do it yourself and self sufficiency.

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
  55. fpbp

    Forget about HBD. Forget about The Bell Curve. Forget about the upsurge in urban shootings. Forget about baseball statistics. Forget about golf course architecture.

    If the Oligarchical State ever decides to shut this site down and dox every last one of us commenting here, it will be because of the revelation of the utter indifference of consumers to TV and Internet advertising.

    It’s like driving a tank. Under fire.
    All sensible fields of vision blocked by any amount of crap.
    All you have is a little wee slit window (with prisms and please a periscope), and a Left and (pray my Lord) Right pedal.

    I have never knowingly even (meat-visually) scanned, still less read a poxy popup ad on any site I have ever cursed with my mere existence. I hate them for stealing my tenuous backcountry bandwidth (falls over immediately after a big match as the partisans rage at each other).

    It’s an exact science. If it’s in your face!!!, and takes up 75% of the screen, it’s Bad.
    Big Bad.
    (goes back to squinting at the small ads in the local (County) paper. Superannuated agricultural equipment, slightly used wives, or elderly but biddable sheepdogs. That sort of thing. You know).

    • Thanks: Polemos

  56. • Thanks: Polemos
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    , @Prester John
  57. Alden says:
    @education realist

    Some products really are superior. All Heinz products including the vinegars . Johnson’s sausage as opposed to disgusting tasteless Hillshire Farms sausage. Farmer John’s Ham a California brand. And above all, Tide laundry detergent. Tide really is superior to all other brands, especially the organic save the earth brands. Pure Tung oil for teak patio furniture exposed to the Pacific Ocean and other good furniture. Crosse&Blackwell mince meat pie filling and other Crosse & Blackwell products Murphy’s Oil soap. Smucker’s jam and jellies are terrible.

    Some brands are really worth buying. Not because of the advertising but using it or eating the product. Just buy a package of Johnson’s and a package of Hillshire Farm sausage and compare Or compare tung oil and lemon pledge on unvarnished walnut.

    The best nail polish in the entire world is an inexpensive brand. Sally Hansen. Much better than \$4o a bottle brands.

  58. @Reg Cæsar

    Advertising is pimping.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  59. innovations of that magnitude were harder to come by

    This was (and is) no more inevitable than our replacement. Indeed the two are not unrelated.

  60. BLESTO-V says:

    I only buy Gulden’s.

    You too? And I thought you were a jerk. Live and learn.

    • LOL: ScarletNumber
  61. Bobboccio says:

    I was a marketing major, and I remember thinking in school… I’m sure spending a lot of time and money learning about something while the instructor keeps saying… “this may potentially possibly increase sales but no one really knows.”

    Very interesting post, Steve.

  62. @Ken52

    We used that as a slogan.

  63. @Alden

    Tide really has made washing clothes a lot better over the last 75 years or whatever it has been around, with plenty of innovations along the way. A great brand.

    • Replies: @Hhsiii
    , @ic1000
    , @Blade
    , @Sunshine
  64. Bottom line, did \$50,000 of Russian Facebook ads give Trump the 2016 election?

    • Replies: @Franco
  65. anon[290] • Disclaimer says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Do you ever have to wait for a long time before your comments are published?
    Just wondering.

    • Replies: @Anon
  66. @UNIT472

    I wasn’t commenting on the superiority of Heinz or French’s condiments. Just their market dominance.

    No one said you did.

    I like Colman’s mustard but its hard to find and, as these things go not cheap.

    I, too, like Colman’s. It is served at McSorley’s Old Ale House, but I haven’t been there in years. It is sold at my local supermarket, but I don’t buy it.

    • Replies: @Hhsiii
  67. Kaz says:

    I work in a fortune 50 retailer.

    To put it simply, yes advertising works. Especially with A/B testing you can run localized tests by not advertising in a market while keeping the rest of the country at baseline and see what the impact is. Similar to what Proctor and Gamble did with their spend but a little more scientific. Simply removing 200M of spend off the top will be hard to gauge an impact, because you truly don’t know where you ‘should ‘ have been if you spent that.

    With A/B testing your controls will at least give an idea of a truer baseline.

  68. @Desiderius

    Advertising is pimping.

    Ogilvy was a matchmaker, not a pimp. Same business, much higher standard.

  69. Anon[418] • Disclaimer says:


    Disney reveals the official identity totem pole order. From the bottom:

    5. White males

    4. Black males

    3. Feather-Indian females

    2. Asian males

    1. White females

    Not quite what I expected, except for the white male at the bottom.

    This is from a ridiculous Los Angeles Times article …

    In 2017, Disneyland at last gave women agency in its Pirates of the Caribbean attraction by removing a bridal auction scene and reimagining a female “wench” as a pirate.

    … about how the Jungle Cruise has been decolonized.

  70. Cortes says:

    Yes, indirect (often “indirect” and occasionally downright illegal – as with regular “incidental” promotions of cigarettes on one Youtube channel I follow) seems to be one way to stimulate interest in a product. I used to love the outdoors and camping and watch several channels related to those areas and featured items sometimes trigger a search for them online or in charity shops. One line of enquiry on advertising in this way might be to look at sales of Ikea metal cutlery strainers before and after they were featured in a bunch of videos, repurposed as “hobo stoves” for hikers and campers…

    Is the educational role of advertising during the heady days of the 1940s/50s now entirely “boutique” rather than broadcast? Selective promotion of certain enthusiast channels may also be a more sophisticated version of The Shopping Channel type of thing, since some presenters will happily burble on at inordinate length on the merits of whatever “freebie” is sent to them for evaluation by the manufacturer or importer and the viewer feedback comments are presumably ideal for product development.

    Re the educational role of advertising, the Perry Mason and Donald Lam/Bertha Cool novels of Erle Stanley Gardner often featured new products and gadgets like blenders being mass-marketed for the first time. One entire novel, something about Ducks in the title, hinges on the amazing properties of detergents.

  71. Cortes says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Darkies eau de cologne was still on sale in Spain a couple of years ago.

  72. @Alden

    Some products really are superior… Johnson’s sausage… Just buy a package of Johnson’s…

    Thanks, but I’ll stick with Sailer’s.

    • Replies: @Escher
  73. Mr. Blank says:

    I actually think that micro-targeting with online ads is starting to get pretty good. In the past five years I’ve been moved to make purchases thanks to online ads more than — well, pretty much since the beginning of the internet. Granted, we’re only talking four, maybe five purchases, but still — I can honestly say those purchases were the direct result of online ads.

    The reason they worked is because the ads in question were obviously very, very narrowly targeted to someone with my interests. Granted, online ad targeting is still hilariously bad most of the time. But when it’s right, it’s often spookily prescient, almost to the point where it feels like the advertisers are reading my mind. I’m wondering what it might look like 20 years from now.

    • Agree: Cortes
  74. @Achmed E. Newman

    what’s the guy selling. I am not lying when I write that I would have to think really hard to get the name of the outfit being advertised, though I do know it’s insurance

    LiMu Emu is the mascot of Liberty Mutual.

    • Thanks: Achmed E. Newman
  75. SafeNow says:

    Everything has changed in just one year. The sales pitch of ads is now usually geared to make me think: (1) A Black family is driving that car!… and they are so cool!…I want to be like them, so I want that car too; or (2) This company is very dynamic and smart to know to hire black actors, so they must also be with it in their car-building skills.

    This is a new paradigm, and I don’t think anyone knows yet how well it works. Disclosure: I do not belong to Facebook, and I do not look at Google ads. I based my comment upon TV commercials and newspaper ads.

    • Replies: @Lurker
    , @YetAnotherAnon
  76. I wonder if the effectiveness of advertising has a negative correlation with the age of the consumer. After all, there are limits on how you can advertise toward children for a reason.

  77. My vague recollection of our tests is that perhaps one ad starring Bill Cosby sold more product — Americans loved Bill Cosby in 1983.

    Jell-O Pudding Pops, anyone?

    This was back during the Cola Wars of the 1980s, which led to the New Coke fiasco and Michael Jackson’s hair on fire.

    This commercial is extremely creepy in hindsight. “Where the little boys at?”

    • Replies: @Charles
    , @Anon
  78. After 2,000 years does this mean that we are finally developing our population immunity to Semitic bullshit?

  79. @Anon

    There must be something I’m missing…this is baffling to me. I don’t understand why there isn’t 100% adoption of ad blockers overnight, which would kill the main business model of the internet.

    Brother you describe almost perfectly my allergic reaction to the much older form of Jewish propaganda – Christianity.

  80. @Reg Cæsar

    It’s still sold in Taiwan but I think they’re changing the brand to Darlie and shrinking the charicature of the smiling black man.
    A few years ago the brand name in Chinese was still 黒人 (black person) but perhaps that’s been scrapped since.

    • Replies: @frankie p
  81. Dumbo says:

    It does work in a way. It did work for the vaccines, didn’t it? And, I am sure that it also helped a lot in the general acceptance, or maybe generated an increase of interracial and gay couples.

    So it can alter behaviour due to the law of conformism and social acceptance… But as for specific brands products versus other very similar brand products, I’m not so sure… They may be helpful in making your brand to be found or known about. But from a cost-benefit analysis, it may not work so great.

    As for Internet ads, I don’t know… This Taboola and similar stuff is so ugly, does anyone ever click those ads? I use an Adblock. I hate this clickbait stuff.

    But, I guess it works in the sense that if you apear first in the search results, people are going to click on it, not click 3 pages down.

    It’s the same on Amazon. In fact it’s worse there, in general the only products that appear in a search are those that “pay to play”.

    • Replies: @Resartus
  82. @Jack D

    The thing is this – the brands that do not advertise have a small and shrinking share of the market. Basically, they are relying on those customers who were advertised to 50 years ago in their youth

    Wait, what? Is this the commenter of a certain persuasion admitting that it’s all about indoctrination of children before they are able to reason for themselves?

    • Replies: @Jack D
  83. @Hangnail Hans

    Count me as skeptical.

    CRT or DeAngelo’s schlock is what you need when there is still a white majority around to demean, organize around/against and importantly fracture. the white majority.

    No doubt there’s South Africa’s full of anti-white stuff and all that “blame whitey” stuff hasn’t been good for black behavior. But …

    How good could it really have been anyway? The problem isn’t blacks feeling “entitled” or blaming whitey. The problem is simply that there’s a overwhelming black majority. Normal black African nations are generally less violent, but are they “well run”?, “capable”?, “prosperous”?

    No, the mistake was the Boer’s choice to live with blacks, period–during settlement, upon independence and finally–last chance–in 1994 transitioning to black majority rule, rather than the painful step of separation.

    Different peoples do not belong in the same nation. No one is happy about it. Wildly disparate peoples … it’s a recipe for nothing by pain.

  84. Lurker says:

    Black people are the arbiters of technical competence. I mean, they just have to be don’t they?

  85. @Hangnail Hans

    No, I’m a man, baby. Scarlet refers to the color.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
  86. One potential exception to online ads being useless may be the new wave of YouTube pre-roll ads. Some of those are really good: they do enough to entice you within the 5 seconds before the skip button comes up that I don’t skip them right away.

  87. anon[230] • Disclaimer says:

    Back in the day, mail order ads were always tested. It was highly measurable. You sent out 100 envelopes with ads, and got 3 or some smallish number back as orders. You modified it and got back 5 or 1. Like that. Better/worse.

    Also, back in the 20th century, economies of scale was a dominate business theme (strategy). A national brand at scale was better, cheaper, and more profitable than local or non-scaled products. Scale was huge,, but now it seems incidental. Complicated products are now commodity like. Advertising was a part of the scale thing.

    Digital advertising is a big deal now. Basically, they are dealing with an IP address which essentially identifies you. The basic distinction is linear TV (old) vs over the top or connected TV. Basically, you get your content over the internet.

    So you have pretty much infinite data to ‘prove’ it works, and Amazon will sell you infinite cloud stuff to deal with it.

    Steve’s argument was presented as ‘advertising doesn’t work’. But I think we can safely say that the sellers of advertising either can’t or won’t bother with demonstrating that it does work.

    I want advertisers to sell me stuff to fulfill desires I am not yet aware I have. Saving me lots of effort.

  88. Dube says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    [Nineteen named brands] were all seen … as part of the way of life … and yet 40 years after I left England, they are still part of my consciousness.

    Advertising furnishes the consciousness. That much is a success.

    Old anecdote: client says to agent, why won’t you change my ad? what am I paying for? what are all those people doing? Agent replies, they’re all working to keep you from changing your ad.

  89. @Jonathan Mason

    Of course it’s not that simple! I’m semi-trolling, semi-serious.

    But I do think that, the young folks who grew up on the internet, they don’t know any TV advertising jingles, they don’t think that an ad can have any artistic value of its own, they don’t know the slogans, they just aren’t engaged. They almost find it comical that you could be inspired by an ad for coca cola. You can teach the world to sing? OK, boomer. These kids tend to look at ad buys as a _negative_, not neutral, negative.

    What car company has the most fanatical customers? Tesla. When was the last time you saw an ad for Tesla? Never. What car companies do you see advertised? Answer: the ones that make terrible cars that no one wants to buy. What insurance companies do you see advertised? Answer: The ones with the highest premiums and lowest customer satisfaction

    What fast food company has the most positive brand image: at least on the West Coast, probably In and Out. When was the last time you saw an ad for In and Out in California? Never.

    The kids have picked up on the fact that if you have to advertise to move product, it’s often because there’s something wrong with your product. It worked on my generation, which was less savvy, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work forever.

    At least nowadays, people who are actually skilled marketers are quite creative about the ways they market and the channels that they use. The old approach of throwing some money at ad buys–in the past that was throwing money at network television, now it’s throwing money at facebook and google–it’s probably not useful anymore. But Elon Musk’s spergy dorktweeting, and other antics keeping him in the news? That stuff is gold.

    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
  90. @Dave Pinsen

    I definitely wonder about the subconscious psychological aspects of clicking the ‘skip ad’, though–someone’s first engagement with your product is a rejection of it.

  91. El Dato says:
    @Joe Stalin

    Don’t be disrespectful with reality-based stuff on this here Hoax Promotion Site.


    It’s possible that our methodology wasn’t good at measuring what really matters to advertisers like Coke and Pepsi, which is persuading impressionable young people to decide, “I’m a Pepsi person” or whatever and thus become a lifelong loyalist.

    One could now use fresh data from “trans” activism.

  92. @ScarletNumber

    Sorry, must have confused you with someone else!

  93. @SimpleSong

    ABP just zaps the ad while presenting you with the Skip Ad button right away.

    You get only the briefest glimpse of the TANALT negro smiling. Then ZAP.

  94. Hhsiii says:

    I sometimes get the powdered version of Colman’s and roll my own.

  95. Hhsiii says:
    @Steve Sailer

    That’s why there’s a black market in tide and drug stores keep it locked up.

  96. Clyde says:
    @Inquiring Mind

    If the Oligarchical State ever decides to shut this site down and dox every last one of us commenting here, it will be because of the revelation of the utter indifference of consumers to TV and Internet advertising.

    I cut the cable (no TV) and I use ad-blockers on my internet browsers. So I never see these adverts. Thank God! Anyone who is not using an ad blocker is a tool and a fool.

    btw If you don’t want to mess around with installing ad-blockers such as Ublock-origin. Install and use the Brave browser with built in ad-blocker. Brave is good for Windows and android for mobiles. Apple too.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @Jimbo
  97. Pericles says:

    Instagram influencers seem to make jawdropping amounts of money these days. The top ones of course, but even the little fish in little Sweden can charge quite a bit for their services (like \$10k for about a day’s work, including travel time).

    No idea if it converts, of course. Still, the followers will at least have an interest in the celebrity being displayed by the nature of how this works. Except the fake accounts, another issue that often seems to be forgotten.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  98. @Pericles

    Presumably, Instagram influencers who get paid to wear clothes brands or whatever have followers who like advertising.

    • Replies: @anon
  99. Pericles says:
    @Jack D

    Typical buyer behavior is to search the available toothpaste market for one they like, then settle on that. Which is why it’s useful to be at the top of the search list, why ads focus on the young, and why changing your Coke recipe is a bad idea.

  100. Many (most?) movies don’t recover their direct costs or make minimal profits. Same for book publishing. But once in a while, a book or a movie comes and unexpectedly makes extraordinary profits which are critical for the overall viability of the industry. (I am leaving aside the movies and books which are expected to make lots of money because of the author/actors/franchise because the author/actors/franchise owners should manage to capture most of the ex ante estimated profits).
    Could brand advertising campaigns be similar to movie producing or book publishing? Most advertising campaigns are not profitable but once in a while, some campaigns will create or relaunch a brand and generate outsized economic value.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  101. Pericles says:

    Le me guess, the MERIT of BLACKNESS?

  102. Eonic says: • Website

    Doesn’t anyone remember the Stonetoss portrayal of an adman pitching his latest campaign? This displays the real motive behind modern advertising.


    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
  103. @Buffalo Joe

    Literally in the case of toothpaste – I had a short fling with a girl who used tooth powder instead of paste. Her mouth didn’t taste of the powder but tasted wonderfully natural.

    I’d always thought of it as a smokers product, but she used the less abrasive non-smoker version. Used it for 20 years until they merged the smoker and non-smoker versions.

    More generally, I think some TV adverts work – when Kenco instant coffee was heavily marketed in the UK, my wife bought it, then when Douwe Egberts advertised a lot she bought that!

    I use adblockers on my PC, but on my phone adverts arrive tailored to my approximate age and location, so maybe the lure of online advertising is that Google end up knowing more about you than anyone, and they can sell that info to other advertisers – certainly a lot of our junk post is tailored.

    They can of course also give that info to NSA/US Gov. China is right to take out Google/Facebook/Twitter.

    PS – influencers DO work, be they paid or peer group – I can recall when every kid at my son’s school HAD to have a Blackberry and Superdry stuff, now it seems to be the same with Patagonia.

    • Thanks: Sarah
    • Replies: @Sarah
  104. @anon

    “I want advertisers to sell me stuff to fulfill desires I am not yet aware I have. Saving me lots of effort.”

    That accounts for the “mature singles in your area” ads that turn up on local newspaper sites despite my Brave mobile browser 😉

  105. @HyperDupont

    Good point.

    Launching a successful consumer brand like Red Bull is a license to print money. You can hire lots of people to manage it for decades for you, but it’s hard to get one started.

    After it’s launched then you spend money defensively on ads to stop new entrants from getting a toehold. That was my theory about the Cola Wars of the 1980s. Pepsi and Coke were competing so frantically in large part to keep out anybody else from making a big push into the ridiculously profitable cola market.

    • Replies: @LP5
    , @Morris39
  106. @SimpleSong

    And I have no idea why they don’t put the brand name or logo in the first 5 seconds of the online commercial.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    , @B36
  107. @SafeNow

    The adverts pitched to young people show them drinking or sharing pizza with a few of their cool black friends.

    In reality even pretty woke teenagers do know which bits of town are to be avoided when alone at night, just as their GoodWhite parents choose not to live there.

    But Derbyshire’s “The Talk” might have saved the life of that foolish English girl who got drunk in (Georgia?) and got murdered by a dreadlocked bodybuilder.

  108. Escher says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Just realized Boris Johnson looks a bit like Boris Becker.
    Unless all white people look alike.

  109. @Harry Baldwin

    Yeah, for a while after college I worked as a flunky at an ad agency, where I typed up the itemizations of the expense-account reports for the executives and creatives. It was all basically “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” — and I DO mean “spent,” and I DO mean “vacation.”

    I definitely picked the wrong career path.

    • LOL: Cortes, Harry Baldwin
  110. Thoughts says:

    Yes it works.

    For example, an instagrammer was gifted a French soy wax scented candle a month ago and shared it on stories.

    Guess what was bought for my sister-in-laws birthday present last month? Yupp, the candle.

    Guess who this morning had to put in an Amazon order for a spray mop based upon the recommendation of a semi-famous homemaker instagrammer?


    I saw an instagrammer wearing a phone in a vest for jogging….I haven’t bought it yet…but I’m thinking about it.

    My spouse and I swap dog photos from Instagram. I would buy the dog, but it’s not for sale 🙂

    I think the meal box we use was originally advertised by an instagrammer my spouse watched.

    Advertising works. How else will people know the product exists?

    If it’s a new product, advertising is very effective. I’ve used Facebook ads…they are ineffective, but three months after the ad is run I’ll always see a boost. It’s about breeding familiarity and legitimacy to a new product. The more people see something, then it becomes familiar, and then trustworthy and they maybe they buy.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    , @Polemos
  111. Thoughts says:

    I think Conceding Market Territory is an important concept.

    If you don’t advertise, people may forget you exist. So even though you don’t see a sales boost per say, that’s not a bad thing. Not seeing an increase of sales means that you are at market saturation, and you control the market.

    If you were to stop advertising for an extended time period, then you may concede valuable market real estate to a competitor.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  112. J.Ross says:

    I wonder if advertising has become apparently more persuasive, not because it is, but because of zoomer credulity and conformism?

  113. Jimbo says:

    Also look into setting up a Pihole device on your home network. stop them before they even get in the house!

  114. megabar says:

    Keep in mind that the primary advertising on Google (on search queries) is not really advertising. Depending on your perspective, you might call it a broker, dealmaker, middleman, or gatekeeper.

    Normally, advertising is “besides” the buying process. That is, it happens in some context, so that later on, you might alter how you actually buy.

    But Google advertising in “inside” the buying process. You decide to buy, do a search, find a link where you can buy, and then buy.

    This is a very powerful position.

    • Agree: Mr Mox, Sarah
  115. With DVR, I fast fwd through EVERY commercial on TV. Sports, news, you name it, I’m commercial free. Most of it is woke horseshit anyway, and 5 seconds later the product is lost in the perversion projected. But that may be the idea, to promote the perversion, the ad is merely the vehicle carrying the perversion, be it two homos, lesbians, mixed race couples and so on.

    Got any research on that Steve? Product? Or social perversion? What’s the ad man’s pitch? How to count the statistics of disgust?

  116. Charles says:
    @Stan Adams

    I was retroactively embarrassed while watching that.

  117. @Jonathan Mason

    “For example Weetabix cereal, Oxo stock cubes, Bistro gravy mix, Ovaltine, After Eight mints, Babycham champagne perry, Heinz baked beans, HP sauce, Sharwood’s Green Label Chutney, Hovis Brown bread, Ambrosia creamed rice, Lucozade, Robinson’s Barley Water, Scotts porage oats, Mr Kipling’s cakes, Kit-Cat, Yorkies, Cadbury’s fruit and nut, Typhoo Tea, were all seen not so much as overpriced products, but as part of the way of life, and probably still are, and yet 40 years after I left England, they are still part of my consciousness.”

    Yes, and that brand-building was all from the TV era. Is any brand-building like that happening today?

    When we watched TV, we were stuck sitting there waiting for our chosen content, which disappeared, to return and the ads kept is waiting until then.

    In the Internet era, our content is still there. You just have to scroll over or click the ‘skip ad’ button to get back to it. If they try to make you sit through three minutes of ads, you are gone from the whole site.

    Much of what I buy today is from Amazon and the like and advertising or brands have nothing to do with the purchase decision. Customer reviews and price are the only factors to me.

    I bet the biggest reality distortion field in the whole universe is at the interface between the Facebook or Google advertising departments and their customers. Or perhaps between the advertising departments within a company and the rest of the company.

    The incredible irony, the surest sign that something is off, is that the market valuation of these companies that make and sell the products being advertised is just a few pennies per dollar of Facebook or Google market cap. Companies are goaded into blowing their precious capital on something with no provable value.

    The fact that the car company worth by the far most spends 0 on advertising is incredibly telling. If advertising were important in this age, this would not be possible. The so-called brand premium that enables one company to have higher margin sales than everyone else is enjoyed by the one company that does not advertise.

    Google and Facebook are helped by folks inside all of these product companies who are incentivized to participate in the scam of their own companies, for the sake of their own jobs and bonuses. What ad buyer executive would smash the lie and end their own job?

  118. @Anon

    The best advertising works subliminally.

  119. Charles says:

    If any site – whatever it is – stops me because I have AdBlock, I click off the site. No doubt AdBlock prevented me from wasting a few minutes.

    • Agree: Jim Christian
    • Replies: @Stan d Mute
  120. @Thoughts

    That was my theory of the 1980s Cola Wars: Pepsi and Coke competed ferociously on TV not to beat the other but to intimidate any potential 3rd party entrant in their duopoly.

    • Replies: @Prosa123
  121. Since this thread is about advertising, it would be a good time to show off the greatest TV commercial ever made…..

    I could write an entire book about the semiotics and the sheer visual control of this.

  122. tyrone says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Just a bit of displaced aggression ?…..let’s be straight with each other,please don’t bring nut sacks into the conversation in future.

  123. @Steve Sailer

    Because people will tune it out if they know what it is too soon.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
  124. Since this thread is about advertising, it might be a good time to show the greatest TV commercial of all time…..

    Like the old song says, I Could Write a Book.

    • Disagree: Jim Christian
  125. Art Deco says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    For example Weetabix cereal, Oxo stock cubes, Bistro gravy mix, Ovaltine, After Eight mints, Babycham champagne perry, Heinz baked beans, HP sauce, Sharwood’s Green Label Chutney, Hovis Brown bread, Ambrosia creamed rice, Lucozade, Robinson’s Barley Water, Scotts porage oats, Mr Kipling’s cakes, Kit-Cat, Yorkies, Cadbury’s fruit and nut, Typhoo Tea, were all seen not so much as overpriced products, but as part of the way of life, and probably still are, and yet 40 years after I left England, they are still part of my consciousness.

    British cuisine. Almost as bad as British dental care.

    • LOL: Calvin Hobbes
    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  126. tyrone says:

    Gee wiz ,I think I’ll go to the store and buy some sausages and detergent ……HEY!….WAIT A MINUTE!

    • LOL: ic1000
  127. @Art Deco

    The items listed are not British cuisine–that is the whole point. They are just basically worthless commercial products created by advertising.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  128. Did the Chief Operating Officer end up with a successful startup?

    Regarding cola, Shasta has always been the low rent Coke and Pepsi. To me, it does not taste a whole lot differently that Coke or Pepsi. Maybe the only reason Coke and Pepsi are considered “better quality” is that their soda is more expensive.

    • Replies: @Dube
    , @John Johnson
  129. Possibly the greatest TV commercial ever and the most absurd.

    • Replies: @Cortes
  130. I’ve written this here before, but it bears repeating.

    I know someone who runs a small business who concluded a few years ago that Google and Facebook ads were a scam, just from his personal experience. He paid for ads and saw no increase in business, no matter how much he budgeted and how he made the ads. Both ad interfaces were incredibly and needlessly complicated so small and medium business owners, who are too busy running their business, can’t figure them out, and merely trust them. And both Google and Facebook always take the full daily payment for the ads, no matter what

    (the system is based on a “bid” system, where you allot a certain daily budget maximum for ads based on if certain keywords are entered into searches or appear in people’s Facebook posts. Supposedly, if no one searches/posts a key word in your geographic area, you won’t get charged anything that day. Shockingly, that never happens).

    The small business owner quit them both in frustration and to save his money. He saw no decrease in sales after quitting them.

    You know what online things actually did increase his business? Google reviews + the blog on his website. SO long as he got customers to give him good Google reviews and he regularly updated his website blog, he got more customers that way and was more popular on web searches.

    I agree with him. If you ever have some time, try to get a Google ads account and try to figure out exactly how their “bid” system works. Your head will be spinning, which is the point.

    Google and Facebook are due to crash. Scam city.

  131. Gordo says:

    Can somebody post the Stonetoss burgers comic please?

  132. guest007 says:

    the organizations websites could easily get around the ad blockers if those companies would just host the ads on their own website instead of linking to ads from other servers/websites. Why would anyone want a link from an organization that it has no idea what it is. Ad Blockers are a good form of internet security independent of the web viewing experience.

  133. songbird says:

    I try to avoid TV ads. But I am still annoyed by billboards and audio ads that play from stores and gas stations. I think it would be a better society, if both were banned.

  134. guest007 says:

    According to French’s is now owned by McCormick & Company. The entire issue with supermarket good is the division between items the store has to carry like Tide Detergent, French’s mustard, etc that items that the suppliers has to pay to have placed on the shelf. That is why most of any large supermarket these days is split between a few large companies such as Proctor and Gamble and the multitude of in store brands with almost no space for anything else.

    As a counter , Trader Joe’s is a grocery store with just the instore brands.

  135. Advertising is a form of saying look here: That’s me! Companies have identities too. And people love to sacrifice for identity (see the history of sacrifices). The veil of modern culture is thin and what is beneath has – not least: enormous material consequences. When in doubt – go ask Max Weber.

    • Thanks: Hhsiii
  136. ic1000 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Our fairly new dishwasher didn’t do a great job of… cleaning dishes. So I’d do them by hand.

    A few weeks back, Mrs. ic1000 pointed to a Consumer Reports review claiming that top of the line Cascade dishwasher pods were head-and-shoulders better than most detergents. (At least for people with hard or soft water, I forget which.)

    We tried switching. At the end of the cycle, dishes are now clean. With my cynical priors, I was surprised.

    • Replies: @Hhsiii
  137. Rob McX says:

    Ads or paywall, it’s going to be one or the other. Somebody has to pay for the Internet. As far as I can remember, when I used an ad blocker on the Daily Mail site, the site blocked me from running it. Maybe there are better versions that don’t get blocked.

    • Replies: @Guest29048
  138. When I am shopping for a new gadget or something I don’t have experience with, I look for online reviews, both by consumers and by professional online reviewers (this includes both print and YouTube reviews). Online reviews can have huge effects on my purchasing choices. They don’t necessarily drive me to buy something I “didn’t know I needed,” but they can drive me to choose one product over competing products.

    • Agree: ic1000
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Mr Mox
  139. @Rob McX

    There is a third option for free riders. It’s called

    Also useful, but less so recently:

    • Thanks: Rob McX
  140. Rob McX says:
    @Hangnail Hans

    Yes. The sooner you learn the brand, the sooner you forget it. You need to watch the ad for a while for it to stick in your mind, so they keep you waiting.

  141. Bert says:

    Weaker ad revenues are Google’s lesser worry.

  142. bitfu says:

    There’s no mention of re-targeting or attribution–which makes the analysis suspect. Are we talking a one-and-done ad, or an ad-campaign that can track the viewer, follow him around the Internet and pepper him with more ads? Adding more nuance to the analysis makes all the difference here.

    Google’s paid search can be wildly effective for the right type of product. Same goes for Facebook.

    Also, with respect to Google–let’s say you’re advertising for some dog food. There are HUGE differences in ROI between advertising for the search term-‘dog food’ and ‘best dog food for poodles’. So much so, that we might as well be talking about two different products all together. ‘Dog food’ will bleed money, but a more precise ‘best dog food for…’ has potential.

    Also, Google charges different rates for different advertisers—which also makes a huge difference.

    On FB–all you have to do is spend time researching the herculean lengths some sophisticated advertisers go to beat its algorithm and peddle dating, porn, work-from-home, weight loss, etc, to know it works. But FB, being filled with the losers who love FB, tends to only really work with the aforementioned garbage. Advertising Crest on FB is nothing but an awareness campaign. But figure out how to peddle smut and pipe-dreams without getting banned on that stupid network…and you will rake it in.

  143. @Guest29048

    Most of the stuff I didn’t know I needed I buy at Costco, which only carries a limited selection, so if some new category of product becomes a regular on their shelves, then I might think about it because Costco usually considers products carefully before stocking them.

    Target is for single women: they carry 100+ different kinds of shampoo. Costco is for parents: they carry only 3 types of shampoo, but you know that whatever they are, they picked out good ones. Their shampoo choices might not please your daughter but it will be fine for you, your son, and maybe your wife.

  144. slumber_j says:
    @Harry Baldwin

    Our biggest client was Procter & Gamble. For the brand managers we worked with, advertising was the fun part of their job.

    Tellingly–and despite the even bigger opportunities for fabulous glamor it would afford the brand managers et al.–Procter & Gamble has been refusing to advertise on the Super Bowl pretty much for ever. It was decided back in I think the Smale administration that Super Bowl advertising was never going to be cost-effective.

    Why P&G and everyone else can’t be that skeptical about other modes of advertising I don’t know.

    • Replies: @guest007
  145. @Jonathan Mason

    Slightly off-topic question:

    Steve, as an advertising guru, is the following factoid true or false?

    I read somewhere that the same product manufactured by a company was sold in two versions, one priced as low as possible for customers who always bought the cheapest version of a product, and one premium priced for customers who always bought the more expensive version of the same product on the belief that if it was more expensive, it must be better. You get what you pay for being their mantra.

  146. GeraldB says:
    @Jack D

    How much of this market domination is because of advertising? These brands also have teams of people whose job is to convince supermarkets and big-box stores to give them more shelf space. If WalMart has six linear feet of shelving for Crest, six for Colgate, three for Sensodyne, and a couple of feet divided up among all the other brands, then what happens?

    My guess is that the average consumer, faced with a dizzying and confusing array of brands and sub-brands, will just grab the one that is at eye level. There’s no real difference between brands, after all.

    • Replies: @Emslander
  147. GeraldB says:

    Back in the 1920’s, John Wanamaker said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half.”

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  148. Rob says:

    Apologies for not reading through the comments.

    RC Cola.

    IIRC, it sold for less than coke Pepsi, back in the eighties. Now seems same price. But coke and Pepsi sell way more.

    Conclusion: advertising matters.

  149. Malla says:

    Isn’t it true that Zara (unlike other clothing brands) does not spend much on advertising and its Spanish owner is one of the richest guy on earth?

    • Replies: @Prosa123
  150. Anon[130] • Disclaimer says:

    Anon comments are always held for moderation. Registered users who have not misbehaved go up immediately.

    The back end for this site is WordPress, so sooner or later it’s going to be hacked and the user list may be made public. That probably would just mean an email address, so you could make an account with a gmail address you only use for this site, and that’d be relatively safe. At that point your worry would be how much of your biography you’ve incrementally revealed in all the comments using your account, and whether that could be used to dox you.

    • Replies: @anon
  151. @UNIT472

    Malcolm Gladwell’s article on Heinz ketchup predominance in the market place accorded with my taste buds. Heinz ketchup tastes significantly better than other ketchups. As for mustard, Grey Poupon made in America is aiming for and failing to imitate that inimmitable delicious taste of mustard made in Dijon France. Happily mustard made in Dijon like French wine is sold in the US and may be found in the major grocery chains like Whole Foods or here in Texas in the H-E-B chain of grocery stores. They are manufactured by a number of small firms in Dijon and all are quite good. Maille is probably the most well known.

    Interesting fact about marketing: Whole Foods in the past did not carry groceries made elsewhere than in the US. They have changed that policy.

    If you are eating a hotdog at the ballgame or chowing down on a salami sandwich at a Jewish delicatessen, Guildens mustard is the best. And Chinese mustard aka Coleman’s powdered mustard is best on Chinese food.

  152. Mr. Anon says:

    Thanks to the internet, ads have gotten a lot better targeted. Much like the weapons employed by the military have gotten a lot better targeted.

    And yet, we still don’t seem to win wars anymore.

    It seems that advertising works pretty well at selling meta-products: wars, lockdowns, the LGBT agenda. Maybe, now, that’s it’s real function.

    • Agree: Rob McX
    • Replies: @DanHessinMD
    , @Rob McX
  153. Jack D says:
    @Stan d Mute

    Right – that’s why I am constantly getting these popups on my browser – “Try Zionism – Now with Added Oppression! 9 out of 10 dentists prefer Zionism!” I’m sure you must be getting these also.

  154. Rob McX says:
    @jamie b.

    A better way for consumers to judge the product is by the number of them they see broken down on the roadside.

  155. Mike Tre says:

    Personally, current advertising strategy makes me less inclined to buy a product.

    Coke and Gillette are a couple examples of this.

  156. @Steve Sailer

    So, if advertising doesn’t work, how does anything new get sold, or how do we change preferences or converge on new designs?

  157. Jack D says:

    Yes, the Cimarron was an object lesson in what NOT to do when trying to extend your brand. Then there was the Catera which was a rebadged Opel. Not as bad as the Cimarron but the Opel was not a true luxury car either.

    TBH, badge engineering rarely goes well but manufacturers do it anyway because it is so profitable. The cost of putting your logo on an existing product is miniscule vs. the cost of designing a new one from scratch and if you can add new customers without alienating your old ones or having them switch to the cheaper new item then it’s a big win.

    Mercedes used to make cars that sold (in the US – overseas they sold a lot of cars as taxis) mainly to rich people – a limited market. They realized that they could sell a lot more cars if they had some cheaper ones to sell to less rich people. This was a change in their philosophy from the days when they owned Chrysler, when the Germans guarded their technology as if it was the crown jewels and kept it away from their American cousins lest consumers think that could get a “Mercedes” for the price of a Chrysler. This is one reason the merger failed. In the end, the Chrysler 300 did end up with some Mercedes technology, but from their previous generation sedan. It was outdated when it was new and now 17 years later it’s REALLY outdated.

  158. @GeraldB

    Back 120 or so posts ago, Ken52 said the exact same thing.

  159. To the extent that I am able, I avoid purchasing products made/marketed by “Woke Corporations”.

  160. @Rob

    Pepsi and Coke have had to take huge functional retail pricing hits on their fizzy sugar and Splenda waters since the eighties for a variety of reasons.

  161. Coemgen says:

    Hm, my apologies if this has already been mentioned but, couldn’t advertising buys be part of an indirect way of paying-off the propaganda mill that we call “the media?” Is there anything to indicate this could not be “globalists” playing 4d-chess?

    • Replies: @Stan d Mute
  162. Possumman says:

    From th0se wonderful folks that gave you Pearl Harbor—Jerry Della Femina-great book on advertising

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  163. @epebble

    The story on the Madison, WI TV stations is that 2/3 of adults in Dane County are “fully” vaccinated, but only 1/3 of minorities in Dane County have this status.

    Simply amazing. I had absolutely no idea that President Trump and the Far Right had so much influence over Black voters in liberal Madison, WI?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  164. @Chriscom

    Signaling solvency to investors, indeed.

    Is political advertising effective? Is there a minimum level of political advertising to be regarded as running a “serious” campaign. Some people won’t “waste” their vote on someone they don’t think is serious enough to raise money to advertise?

  165. Of course advertising works…

  166. Youtube is invaluable for do it yourself fix it type stuff.
    Very helpful when it comes to fixing the car or other mechanical things.

    • Agree: Rob McX
  167. @Joe Stalin

    The same postwar network of Nazi industrialists and emerging U.S. security staters that promoted SS dreamboy Wernher von Braun to the upper reaches of the American space effort was responsible for the early 1950s mass communications research that developed the domestic psychological warfare program during the Cold War. Corporate advertising was the progeny of that endeavor.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  168. @ScarletNumber

    Just the man in the mirror

    Certainly it’s not only me who’s retarded. I’m sure of it.

  169. anon1234 says:

    Sorry but must disagree about Tide. Laundry detergent is all about smell. Chemically they are all pretty much the same except for the “green ones” and all do the same job. What Tide does best is provide a noticeable smell for something that has been in the closet for a month after washing.

    Machine type, amount of load, and water temperature all have as big an impact as the detergent. For those of us who like using neutral or smell free detergent Tide is a waste of money.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    , @Alden
  170. @Stan d Mute

    “the much older form of Jewish propaganda — Christianity”

    The cult around Rabbi Jesus was developed to eventually become a control system for the vast northern pagan tribes who proved to be resistant to Roman rule. The result: water down whitey. I may be a Christo-skeptic but I certainly admire Christian culture and its artistic legacy.

    • Replies: @Stan d Mute
  171. They don’t. The one industry I know much about, publishing, does not depend on advertising. It’s word of mouth and influence. Oprah matters.

    Meanwhile, only somewhat OT, this should prove that boycotts don’t work, if you’ve got muscle behind you:

  172. @Jack D

    I was going to write something about another type of product that depends heavily on advertising but saw this comment, so I’ll post it as a reply to yours.

    It strikes me that makeup/cosmetics is heavily dependent on advertising, along with word of mouth, and general buzz.

    A host of famous models, or models who became famous, are associated with the premium Estee Lauder brand. Every few years they come out with a new “face” (although Carolyn Murphy has been with them for twenty years) and they are always beautiful. If they go woke, I’ll really be shocked. Their style is timeless beauty.

    In cosmetics the word of mouth is whipped up by fashion shows, who is on the cover of Vogue, and latterly, famous makeup artists.

    But the real muscle is advertising.

    It strikes me that makeup and toothpaste, both being items that affect physical beauty (or the perception, in the case of makeup) fall into a certain category that is ad dependent.

    But I never knew a home improvement buff to buy a drill because of advertising.

  173. J.Ross says:

    This is probably on the way to the truth: advertising, like Hunter Biden’s art or Hollywood movies nobody watches, is a legal excuse to move money around and get into some entity’s good graces. It’s the Chicago alderman’s spaghetti dinner. Given this, reasoning that that no ad client expects the ads to “work,” how do we disrupt that? If we expected ads to work we’d attack by boycotting heavily advertised items.

  174. J.Ross says:
    @Jack D

    >Jews of all ideologies do not heavily, aggressively, and often self-defeatingly message, to include educational modules for public schools


  175. J.Ross says:

    Availability. Coke and Pepsi are sold everywhere, to include places other brands can’t sell because they locked up concessions. When I was a kid I would only see RC up north; I saw it the other day in a local supermarket and was surprised. Is there one university or sportsball venue where RC is the only available pop brand?

  176. Warren Buffett made a fortune buying Coke stock because of the company’s huge brand equity from 90 years of advertising: even if Coke wasn’t making a lot of money right now, somebody would come along and figure out how to make more money off the Coke brand, which eventually happened.

    Anyway, it’s all very curious. After all these decades, I still really don’t know what to think.

    My surmise is that at the advent of advertising it probably had the most punch in terms of increasing sales. Same thing for really novel means of advertising. Repeated product placement in a film or television show where the character becomes an icon probably works now due to its subtlety relative to active advertising efforts. Think Ray-Ban Aviators in Top Gun. (see, )

    But now advertising is so ubiquitous, the sheer volume of it really tends to drown itself out. We’re just more “on guard” against advertising now since it’s such an enormous part of modern life. You can either tune it out mentally or change the channel/skip to another tab while the advertisement runs its course. And the really intrusive stuff which hijacks your computer for 30 seconds usually has me making a negative association with whichever brand or product it is promoting.

  177. @Anonymouse

    The Heinz tomato ketchup available in the United States does not seem to be quite as good as the same Heinz product in Europe.

    The European version seems to be a little darker in color and have a slightly less vinegary taste.

    Incidentally the version of the same thing in Ecuador also seems to be darker, but here in Ecuador all the ketchups are darker than in the US and in my opinion taste better.

    There are many versions of ketchups that are not available in the US, for example the Germans love curry-ketchup with sausages, and I have seen supermarkets in the Dominican Republic carrying 3 or 4 different brands of carry ketchup for German tourists and residents. (It is pretty tasty!)

    I would love to see a global supermarket chain that carried all the best products from every country.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @Emslander
  178. LP5 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    What role did conversion to high fructose corn syrup from sugar play in the New Coke rollout? Did you come across any studies about the cost savings or other benefits?

  179. @Steve Sailer

    Target is for single women: they carry 100+ different kinds of shampoo. Costco is for parents: they carry only 3 types of shampoo, but you know that whatever they are, they picked out good ones. Their shampoo choices might not please your daughter but it will be fine for you, your son, and maybe your wife.

    I don’t think it is for single women so much as catering to the member of the family who makes the bulk of the household consumer purchases. The housewife/mother goes to Target and gets her brand name shampoos and makeup, then the large size laundry detergent at a discount over the supermarket, and then cheap off brand clothes and shoes for the toddlers. Consider it a sort of kickback from Target to the prime household consumer, who gets to save money on the off-brand and bulk necessities while treating herself with the savings to the nicer brand-name toiletries and a Starbucks Cafe Latte (Targets have had Starbucks in them for a while now).

  180. @Anonymouse

    I read somewhere that the same product manufactured by a company was sold in two versions, one priced as low as possible for customers who always bought the cheapest version of a product, and one premium priced for customers who always bought the more expensive version of the same product on the belief that if it was more expensive, it must be better. You get what you pay for being their mantra.

    It’s called “Aldi”. Or “Trader Joe’s”. Perhaps both.

    A (true) story was related in marketing texts of a Southwest gift shop’s owner leaving a note telling the assistant manager to halve the price on a certain item that wasn’t selling, as a closeout. But the assistant misunderstood the note and doubled the price instead.

    It sold out in no time.

    • Replies: @LP5
  181. Prosa123 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Duopolies aren’t uncommon in retailing today. Examples: Walmart and Target (Kohl’s has a narrower product line); Home Depot and Lowe’s (Menard’s is still regional); Petsmart and Petco; Staples and the combined Office Depot/Office Max. Even supermarkets can be a quasi-duopoly in certain areas. While there are many supermarket companies, in any particular location there may well be two that heavily dominate the market.

    • Replies: @James J O'Meara
  182. Jack D says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    It’s pretty common for multi-national corporations to sell slightly different versions of their products in different countries in order to cater to local tastes. In the US, some of the larger supermarkets (e.g. Wegmans) have an international aisle where they will import some overseas favorites such as UK Heinz beans and Mexican Coca Cola for homesick expats or even Americans who prefer the taste of the foreign variant. Usually these carry a hefty price premium over the American product due to transportation costs and low volume compared to the local version so they are not big sellers.

  183. Thanks for the update on ketchup. Think about writing a book that explores your fascination with ketchup.

  184. LP5 says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Another true story.

    A society matron, from an era when such were known, noticed an odd amount on her department store charge account statement for \$7.50. She called to inquire and then decided to return the item as she thought the price was \$750. One of my professors decades ago had a summer job working at the department store in accounting and answered the call.

    • Replies: @Paul Jolliffe
  185. @education realist

    I agree about ketchp, or catsup. Del Monte’s brand is fine too, but it tastes the same as Heinz.

    Have you tried the ketchup or mayonnaise in Britain? utterly tasteless. Why do they even bother? All the work put into perfecting these things and they abandon it for something like cornstarch and water.

    So there certainly is room for variation with ketchup, but not for Americans.

  186. Cortes says:
    @Jonathan Mason


    It’s very fine, but nowhere near as great as the Peggy Lee “I’m A Woman” parody in the Glenryck “Cause I’m A Pilchard” ad of the early 1970s.

    Multiple efforts to locate it have been unsuccessful. Probably grossly non-PC these days.

  187. @Mr. Anon

    The problem with targeted ads is that you aren’t getting new customers so much as ‘preaching to the choir’ so to speak.

    I don’t believe the value is there. I feel like Facebook should come crashing down, but, as they say, the markets can remain irrational longer than most investors can remain solvent.

  188. B36 says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Given the constant stream of ads it must be that whatever auto insurance company you use, half your premium goes to support their advertising budget.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  189. @Alden

    My daughter and her friends all get tips and ideas from Instagram influencers. It’s all either benign or positive stuff as far as I can see. Mostly fashion, makeup, hair, skin, nails. If a product can show up in those circles (pretty conservative teens with jobs and a bit of \$) then it will certainly sell. If something doesn’t work or is offensively presented, then they’ll savage it.

    The goal is to see a product displayed by someone you admire in a flattering way, and then have a real life friend tell you that it works.

    My crossfit coach and his wife make this happen as they are both outgoing and physically choice specimens, perfect for Instagram. If you see them using or wearing something you’re going to be interested. I see big, gruff dudes there wearing the latest pricey shoes and I know they just saw the coach strutting about in that brand. Imagine how this affects young people full of insecurity.

  190. anon[363] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Presumably, Instagram influencers who get paid to wear clothes brands or whatever have followers who like advertising.

    Or they like the influencer and desire to be “just like that”. So if the influencer decides to change clothing brands, the followers have little to no brand loyalty in the usual sense. Any form of brand loyalty is to the influencer, not to the stuff around him/her/it.

  191. There’s an old joke, which I’m sure I’ve cited here before, where some ad guy says “Studies show that 50% of all ad spending is wasted. Unfortunately, we don’t know which half.”

    Someone observed — and again I think I’ve cited this before — that ad agencies make only one sale, and that’s to the client.

    On Mad Men, for every “creative” Don Draper there were a dozen Pete Campbells, whose job was to wine & dine — schmooze — and get “dates” for the client when they came to NYC. As they admitted, they were basically pimps. Roger had only one client, their biggest, American Tobacco, because he knew how to “make [the CEO] feel special.”

  192. B36 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    And why they don’t play the second 5 seconds when your next ad is due.

  193. anon[363] • Disclaimer says:

    Anon comments are always held for moderation. Registered users who have not misbehaved go up immediately.

    That does not answer the question.

  194. B36 says:

    I’ve always thought it would be more fair if Facebook was a mutual organization, in which all the users were members and shared in the governance and profit. After all the only real value in FB is all the personal information contributed by the users.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Polemos
  195. Morris39 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Yes also may apply more generally i.e, low probability but high risk or payout calculations. For investments keep it safe for the most part but also invest small amounts in highly speculative stock which pays off rarely but big when it does. Talib has made money pushing this idea in several books.

  196. Advertizing doesent work with me. I don’t have any money. The “poor” demographic is growing. The days of advertizing to “the American people” are over.

    • Agree: black sea
    • Replies: @James J O'Meara
  197. @songbird

    Man, I’m laughing at the “thou/thee/thine pronouns”. I’m totally stealing that.

    To your point, there are a series of billboard ads for pot near me, in a run-down part of town, that are disgusting. “Have a bong summer!” is right now, with the ad telling you how to get your pot delivered

  198. Whiskey says: • Website

    I don’t want to be too specific, but yes Facebook advertising works. Perfect case study, Apple introduced a few months back changes to advertising in apps. Now, users have to opt in for ads instead of having that buried inside preferences for each app and default opt-in. Now default is opt-out and they have to actively opt in.

    Sales in the company I work for are down significantly from that change date due to our dependence on Facebook ads. Our ads are done in house, and consist basically of “you buy now, real cheap” per Steve’s joking summary of Chinese advertising and new seasonal products that potential buyers might want. The company is not a household name but you’d know some of the brands.

    So yes, in that instance Facebook advertising can drive sales. We have found that search marketing by contrast was a total waste of money and time. It never drove sales. Social Media influencers have a marginal effect, but we spend little there.

  199. Rob McX says:
    @Mr. Anon

    It seems that advertising works pretty well at selling meta-products: wars, lockdowns, the LGBT agenda. Maybe, now, that’s it’s real function.

    Pretty soon, it’ll be the army’s real function too.

  200. @Jack D

    Oh, knock it off already. You know perfectly well that every single American gets non-stop “Try Zionism! And if you don’t, you’ll try it anyway!” advertising every single second of the day, even in their sleep. And in case they don’t go along, they also get “C’mon, don’t be silly, of COURSE you aren’t getting Try Zionism! ads every single minute, that’s absurd.” And for the truly skeptical, there are the “You must be an ANTI-SEMITE!!!11!!!” ads.

    Hell, you just wrote one yourself, didn’t you.

  201. Up2Drew says:
    @Matthew Kelly

    I agree completely on your point about constant “music” everywhere I go.

    I played baseball at a very high level and have coached at a very high amateur level. Baseball runs through my family’s blood and carries a higher nobility with us than it has any reason to … but it is what it is.

    As a result, I have absolutely hated baseball’s transition from 14,000 fans at a game who really understood and followed the sport to the rap/salsa-concert relentless barrage of noise and scoreboard graphics staged for 30,000 that it has become. It’s awful, you can’t even have a decent conversation with your friends in the stands.

    Airports, stores, everything. God, can I have a moment to observe and appreciate and think?

  202. AndrewR says:
    @Inquiring Mind

    Leftists are openly calling for every church in Canada to be burned down.

  203. Anonymous[408] • Disclaimer says:

    Capitalism and advertising are two peas in one pod, more or less one and the same.
    Capitalism is structured so that those who own the means of production accrete the cash – which basically is what it is all about. Hence, corporations are the prime agents and factors regulating the flow of cash in America. The bottom line is that it’s all about vanity – ‘we are the big boys and we want you to know it’ – rather than shifting product. Self justification and vanity, the product which spins the cash being the base and foundation of the mighty empires.
    Thus if we reduce down the big salaries, lavish lifestyles etc to their most basic level it is the brute product, which does not have a face, but the brand the corporates dubbed it with – hence the brand is the veritable golden calf of capitalism and advertising is its fitting homage.

  204. guest007 says:

    Super Bowl advertising is only beneficial due to the earned media before and after the game. On the Friday of Super Bowl Weekend, much of the media will review the commercials that are going to air during the game, on the day after the Super Bowl, talk radio, local news, podcasts, etc. will discuss many of the commercials. Youtube usually has a way to review all of the commercials shown.

    The 2010 commercial for the Kia Sorrento called JoyRide is considered one of the most effective Super Bowl commercials, due to Kia believing that the commercial increased traffic at auto dealers.

  205. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Hi, Germ. I see nothing particularly interesting or extraordinary about this 30-second TV commercial for a perfume. Please write a paragraph or two (not an entire book) about its “semiotics and sheer visual control”.

  206. @Stan d Mute

    Five times a day I bend toward Valhalla and pray to Odin.

    • Thanks: Stan d Mute
  207. @Rob

    RC Cola.

    IIRC, it sold for less than coke Pepsi, back in the eighties. Now seems same price

    It must depend on the deals the bottlers work out with stores. The last time I purchased RC at Walgreens in Chicago, they had 99 cents printed on the 2L bottle labels. The times I was at the Wal-Mart Express grocery stores, the RC prices were definitely more expensive than Walgreens.

    • Replies: @Cortes
  208. Mr Mox says:

    I often add “forum” to the search line when searching for certain items or technical expertise.

    You still have to sort out the armchair experts, but you will also find some very knowledged people worth listening to.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  209. @Inquiring Mind

    You might mightily underestimate the importance of golf-course architecture. – The people that – really – count will never allow the forces that be to shut down the site of one of the leading golf-course-architecture experts ever. Steve follows here a perfect strategy – attack & embrace! – and is thus as invincible as – Obelix, or Hannibal – or – you know: Attila the Hun himself!

    • LOL: Cortes
  210. @Thoughts

    Like TV programmers who cancel the shows people like and stuff down their throats shows that people don’t like, I suspect that there is some motive other than profit behind ubiquitous advertising. Maybe it’s just to make us irritated and afraid.

    • Agree: LondonBob
  211. @Anon

    this is the only smart comment on this entire thread.

    y’all motherfuckers dumb as hell if you think internet ad-spend isn’t the most hyperquantified, rigorous science in all of modern society.

    does that mean it’s profitable for everybody? emphatically no, especially when Google+Facebook continually raise their rates based on success–you can think of ads as your ‘online rent’. BUT, *if done correctly* (meaning with focus on profitable Customer Lifetime Value/retention and copy optimization so your initial ads convert better) internet ads are effectively a license to print money.

    “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads” is absolutely true….and it’s hyperquantified….so yes, Ad-Men absolutely get away with murder convincing GloboCorps that their massive social media buys are effective, but that’s not because internet ads as a whole “don’t have quantifiable effect”.

  212. Rob says:

    EBay might be an example of the failure of not advertising.

    They were a big, big name in internet commerce. The phrase “Amazon and eBay…” was said many times without a trace of irony.

    eBay got the reputation of being cliquish and somewhat déclassé. Iirc, you had to use PayPal, which was an extra step, and I think you needed to have more money in you PayPal account than the whatever cost. Also, if I remember correctly, eBay and PayPal were co-owned maybe the former bought the latter, maybe the other way, but they were wedded to an inconvenient extra step long after fraud was pretty much a solved problem.

    I suppose I could be wrong, and eBay has been wonderfully profitable for early shareholders. But I know it ain’t Amazon. It could have been. All they needed was a ‘buy from eBay’ option and some advertising.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  213. I have experience working in the eCommerce space.

    First, to the extent that an Amazon-free eCommerce space exists, that space is still dominated by Google. Most reviews on those types of sites are fake. If they say that they’re “verified” reviews, that means that they’re really lying hard. There is absolutely nothing stopping a given merchant from posting fake reviews. Whether “stars” are visible on Google searches comes down to whether the software that is gathering said reviews/ratings has institutional ties to Google. Yes, it is possible to use said software, input an Excel sheet of manually typed reviews written under fake names, and then pawn that off to the public. The relevant technology is developed by “startups” who intend to be sold to larger corporates before the public realizes what is going on.

    God is punishing man for being so reliant on technology..

    I have and always stand by the proposition that people should use the internet (and technology) as little as possible. The pandemic has unfortunately made this difficult.

  214. Whiskey says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    Shopping at Costco is a miserable experience. Like Retail Blade Runner. You have a thousand and one different racial and ethnic groups, all supremely hostile to White people. From the glowering Somalia woman in full hijab and several aggressive, nasty boys in tow, to the various weird and repellent SubContinental people from Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Kafiristan …

    To the various pushy/aggressive Chinese diaspora and other people from the Central Asian stans, etc. all crowded, with no air conditioning, and mostly huge amounts of real cheap stuff — no thanks.

    Steve you say your chemo and cancer experience leave you vulnerable to infection yet you shop at the giant petri dish of germs that is Costco? Mine in Orange County is a dysfunctional hell-hole, I shudder to think what LA County is like.

    Target is relatively clean. Has lots of stuff. I don’t have to buy giant quantities. Its air conditioned. They don’t require a membership fee.

  215. Simon says:

    This topic gives me the chance to trot out what is probably a myth, maybe even a joke, but that may have some basis in reality: the story of the copy writer who, with a single word, doubled the sales of some brand of shampoo.

    The instructions on the back of the bottle had said, “Wet hair. Pour measured amount of shampoo into hands and work into scalp. Rinse thoroughly.”

    The copy writer simply added, at the end, “Repeat.”

  216. Anonymous[401] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dave Pinsen


  217. Not Raul says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Another thing that might be going on: supermarket execs (and category managers) see advertising, too. If a product isn’t being advertised a lot, they might conclude that it isn’t worth much shelf space. Shelf space in supermarkets is in limited supply. People fight over every inch.

  218. Hhsiii says:

    Yeas, my wife swears by those cascade pods. I always think she’s being suckered but that and tide she says work better.

  219. Dube says:
    @Return of Shawn

    Shasta has always been the low rent Coke and Pepsi. To me, it does not taste a whole lot differently that Coke or Pepsi. Maybe the only reason Coke and Pepsi are considered “better quality” is that their soda is more expensive.

    In a barstool conversation with the marketing vp of a major liquor company, I learned that if some label is lagging, they’ll raise the price. Might as well pay just a bit more to get something better ….

  220. anon[861] • Disclaimer says:

    I’ve always thought it would be more fair if Facebook was a mutual organization, in which all the users were members and shared in the governance and profit

    Why not get together with some like minded people and start such an organization?

  221. @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

    “I see nothing particularly interesting or extraordinary”

    Well that is as planned: already it’s working. “You” are not supposed to find it extraordinary; “your” job is to mysteriously want to buy this product for your girlfriend, without really knowing why. Keep in mind that we are not talking about a “short film,” we are talking about a commercial.

    Be that as it may, let’s give it a cursory, superficial breakdown (remember, you only asked for the SHORT version!)…..

    1. A golden car the size of a house (Rolls?) pulls up to the curb of a glamorous city street at night.
    We cannot quite see the driver.

    2. REVERSE SHOT: The driver is clearly a woman, but we see her from behind, we do not see her face — she is Madame Mysterio. Then we see her glittering blue eyes reflected in the rear-view mirror: not only is she a chick, she’s a gorgeous one, and evidently rich and glamorous (from the car).

    3. Camera pans down: THE VERY NEXT THING WE SEE is a product-placement shot in ECU of the perfume bottle, which she spritzes on in time to the music.

    4. She gets out of the car. She is wearing a matching pants suit and hat, pretty much the same color as the car (she is just as valuable as a Rolls!) Her pants suit is a trifle masculine (pants!) but also sort of silky and feminine. (Meanwhile the song is telling us how “modern” and “here today” it all is (early feminism, but not TOO feminist!)

    5. Notice the hat: it is designed to look slightly like a military helmet. This is a woman on the hunt. (“Men never seem to realize that a bedroom is a woman’sbusiness office” — who said?)

    6. She strides confidently towards the hotel, and tips her hat to an unseen someone as she goes. A hat-tip is a masculine gesture, but she’s doing it. Who is she greeting? The camera is angled in such a way as to suggest she is greeting US, (or really, YOU) but not overtly, not directly AT the camera.

    7. She pokes playfully at a uniformed doorman: she is friendly, but she is his superior officer.

    8. After a major hair flip, she flirtatiously tosses her hat to a kid working in the lobby, who is gratefully in awe.

    9. She signs the hotel register with her name that is also the perfume’s logo: CHARLIE with the signature swirly underline. Her signature is huge (a John Hancock, so to speak). Second major product placement.

    10. She strides confidently into the glamorous hotel bar… and look! It’s Bobby Short! This must be the Carlyle! You are now in Sophisticated High-Class Heaven!

    11. She goes past, and then we get a CU of the pianist/singer… why that IS Bobby Short! You must be so cool, because you recognize that guy!

    12. At the bar, she greets a few friends, flirtatiously teasing and touching them. Notice that as she does so, she moves in a circular swirl: she is popular, she is busy and can’t stay to chat, she is swirling in a circle (we’ll come back to this).

    13. Then she greets a handsome man who grabs her intimately: this must be her date. He rather forcefully swirls her around, (an amplification of the previous teaser-swirl) and then he FLINGS her into their booth. He doesn’t seat her, he FLINGS her. Despite all the glamor, there is still an undercurrent of the Tarzan/Jane dynamic. This girl Charlie has it all: money, a Rolls, a great outfit, a regular table at the Carlyle, and a rich, handsome beau who is still man enough to toss his woman around. And she’s lovin’ it.

    14. With another glorious hair flip, she leans into her closeup with a million dollar smile.

    15. YOU WANT THAT PERFUME! What’s it called again??!?

    16. Oh, good, here’s a super closeup product placement with a soothing, authoritative male voice telling you what you need to know.

    All that in less than 30 seconds. Also, very smooth and assured, a single location, Aristotelian unities observed, no hysteria or set changes or break-neck hyperactive editing. The whole thing is less than a dozen shots.

    Keep in mind that this perfume was sold at corner drug stores. When I was a little kid, I used to buy it for my mom for her birthday. CHARLIE: a perfume so sophisticated that a 9-year-old boy can buy it with his lawn-mowing money.

    And that’s the simple breakdown, we haven’t spoken of the deeper levels.

    Still unimpressed by it?

    • Agree: Inquiring Mind
    • Thanks: YetAnotherAnon
  222. I hate advertising unless it presents accurate information without gas-lighting.

    Gas-lighting includes the ever more in-your-face White genocide agenda permeating most advertising. We know (((Bernays-types))) run the advertising industry.

    Does, say, a Japanese company like Toyota really understand the hidden agenda woven into its ads?

  223. @SunBakedSuburb

    Oh no… not Walt Disney too…

  224. @anon

    I want advertisers to sell me stuff to fulfill desires
    I am not yet aware I have. Saving me lots of effort.

    I’ll bet you didn’t know you needed this:Fair Trade Cocaine!

  225. Dutch Boy says:

    The greatest marketing ploy ever concocted (disguised as instructions for use):”Lather, rinse, repeat”

  226. SafeNow says:

    This old ad is probably the most famous product endorsement in my long lifetime. “Amazon’s Choice” is, today, Mr. Coffee. The buyers and raters can’t be mostly old timers, like me. What’s going on, I wonder. Is this and example of a product endorsement that endures across generations? Or is this actually the best coffee maker for quality and value?

    • Replies: @JMcG
  227. Resartus says:

    It did work for the vaccines, didn’t it?

    Depends on whether you see it as “Peer Pressure” or downright “Extortion”…..

  228. @Anonymouse

    Maille is probably the most well known.

    Don’t tell JohnnyWalker but it used to be owned by Rothschild. Now owned by Unilever.

  229. @B36

    Yes, B-36, that irks me about a lot of big business. The internet company, for example, sends roughly 2 pieces of junk mail to me each month, even though I have been a pretty-much-captive customer for almost a decade. What’s that cost, 3 to 5 bucks in printing/handling/postage? Shoot, guys, I already am a customer! Take half that off my bill – it’s a win/win.

    I know what it is though – they really want me to subscribe to the TV signal – I wouldn’t do that “bundle” thing even if it were somehow CHEAPER than the internet alone! [Troll me now, Scarlet Number. Just get it over with.]

    BTW, do you have 6 turning and 4 burning?

    • Replies: @B36
  230. @Buffalo Joe

    I’ve got a car mechanic friend who has never advertised in the 25 years I’ve known him, Joe, but maybe well longer than that. He has to turn away work or else just unintentionally piss people off when their cars stay there for weeks. The thing is, he’s good, in a world of hacks. OK, the latter half of that sentence is the way he puts it.

  231. @Return of Shawn

    Regarding cola, Shasta has always been the low rent Coke and Pepsi. To me, it does not taste a whole lot differently that Coke or Pepsi. Maybe the only reason Coke and Pepsi are considered “better quality” is that their soda is more expensive.

    When Coke or Pepsi are on sale the difference is like a buck.

    Some of the soda generics are pretty good but for cola I think the extra buck is worth it.

    With root beer or orange soda you can find one that is as good if not better than the leading brands.

    Do I think that Coke and Pepsi need to spend millions on advertising? NO. In fact I think that is the most wasteful form of advertising. People either prefer Coke or Pepsi and a giant logo at a ball game isn’t going to change that.

    Domestic beer is similar. Americans drink a lot of light beer and I don’t think that advertising has much to do with it. If you drink light beer then you probably have a favorite and a funny commercial isn’t going to change that.

    My guess is that advertising works better when it is targeted or used to show new products.

  232. @Possumman

    From th0se wonderful folks that gave you Pearl Harbor—Jerry Della Femina-great book on advertising

    Another one is George Lois’s Damn Good Advice. I like how he praises Volkswagen’s “Think Small” campaign for being able “to sell a Nazi car in a Jewish town”. (Lois is Greek.)

    Much of his advice on creativity is useful, but one speed bump near the end is not. He advises going against stereotype in casting ads. This might have been fresh in 1966, but by the time he wrote this, it had become an example of the tired old thinking he had been railing against therefore.

    Anyway, as with many recent mass-market marketing books, whether the content is sensible or stupid, it is always entertaining. They know how to market ther own wares.

  233. @Inquiring Mind

    The story on the Madison, WI TV stations is that 2/3 of adults in Dane County are “fully” vaccinated, but only 1/3 of minorities in Dane County have this status.

    How jabbed-up were the young fellows whose Friday night fight caused the early closure of the county fair? For both nights. A lot of ride-goers were disappointed. Especially the ones who’d already purchased tickets.

  234. I’m terminally cheap, so I buy whatever is on the shelf at Aldi or Dollar Tree. I don’t look at ads, only price tags.

    Occasionally I’ll get a bottle of Tide or Suavitel at CVS or Walgreens when it’s on sale for about three dollars. (That’s still two dollars more than I’d pay for el cheapo detergent at Dollar Tree. But CVS is more convenient and less ghetto.)

    Right now I’m wearing a \$10 shirt from Kmart (the last one in my area) that I bought for my grandmother’s funeral. My shoes were rescued from a JCPenney clearance rack.

    Marketers hate me with a passion.

  235. @Rob

    I suppose I could be wrong, and eBay has been wonderfully profitable for early shareholders. But I know it ain’t Amazon. It could have been. All they needed was a ‘buy from eBay’ option and some advertising.

    The difference is that ebay is associated with used goods sold by individuals.

    Maybe advertising could have fixed that but people have the association.

    I have surprised people when I told them that I bought something new off ebay. Like the same people multiple times.

    People make weird associations. Ebay became “the place where you can find a used part” even though you can buy anything there.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @InnerCynic
  236. Not Raul says:

    When PG (for example) does a bump in advertising, does the share price get a bump, too?

    Maybe shareholders, members of the board of directors, and the like are an important audience for advertising.

  237. anon[343] • Disclaimer says:

    Warren Buffett made a fortune buying Coke stock because of the company’s huge brand equity from 90 years of advertising: even if Coke wasn’t making a lot of money right now, somebody would come along and figure out how to make more money off the Coke brand, which eventually happened.

    Coke pays a dividend, currently at 3%. It is not just a lottery ticket, it throws off income. I believe that Buffet as a rule only invests in things that produce income, like the BNSF railroad.

    Also population increase over the last 30+ years surely was part of the driver for sales of Coke; more consumers means more stuff consumed.

    Note that all of the population increase since 1975 or so derived from immigration.

    Open borders are good for business, therefore open borders are good for the U.S.A…

  238. Cortes says:
    @Joe Stalin

    With RC Cola you get savings on your Purgatory.

  239. The Unruling Class

  240. Related:

  241. Anonymous[365] • Disclaimer says:

    Because the current business model of the internet is designed to generate societal conflict. They call it “engagement.” Basically, they want you checking their sites as often as possible so they can get eyeballs on ads and thus money. So they amp up every story into an outrage, so you feel like the future of humanity is at stake in what is, by any sane measure, a mostly unremarkable event. They want you checking in every chance you get to see how the battle’s going against The Other Team, who they inform you are just a hair’s breadth from implementing a fascist/communist (take your pick) totalitarian state.

    Social media is one part of this madness we’re going through, but ads are another.

  242. Back in May we were being bombarded with radio ads for vaccines….lately this has stopped. Maybe the government needs to spend a few billion more on advertising to convince young blacks to get vaccinated. The advertising seemed to work for older whites, since 75% of Whites over the age of 50 are vaccinated.

  243. Ralph L says:

    Cadillac was the first luxury car company that would sell directly to blacks (during the Depression, so not often).

    As with the Pontiac Fiero, GM made the Cimarron into a decent if overpriced car by the late 80’s, then killed it. All the J cars had a weak engine the first year, which got them off to a bad start. The Cadillac dealers howled for a small car during the gas crisis of ’79, so it came out half baked.

    • Replies: @Cortes
  244. @Reg Cæsar

    A woman I know worked as a television time buyer for Ogilvy and Mather back in the day. It was a sweatshop from the very beginning but it got worse once The Tribe took it over lox, stock and barrel and turned it into a shtetl once David’s “next thirty years” kicked in. She and the few other Christians who worked there were toast when it came to raises/chances for advancement, etc. She took an early retirement, which was a wise move. David’s aphorisms are for the most part on the mark though I doubt that ninety-nine percent of advertising sells ANYTHING.

  245. @LP5


    Not a “Giffen Good”, which may (or may not) exist in the real world.

    This sounds more like an example of the classic income effect, namely normal versus inferior goods.

  246. Moses says:

    How many of you bloviating armchair quarterbacks have owned and run an online business and bought ads on Google or FB?

    I have. The ads have a big positive ROI.

    In fact after I started running FB ads and saw the incredible targeting power of the platform I bought FB stock.

  247. Enochian says:

    Can you imagine what would happen to the internet without all those trillions of advertising dollars being pumped into it? 90% of people employed in computing and associated fields would have to retrain as coal miners. Seriously, there are some questions that shouldn’t be asked.

  248. JMcG says:

    A friend’s mother used a percolator until the day she died, probably 30 years after that Mr. Coffee commercial aired. Every time I drank her coffee, I’d lament what had been lost.

    • Replies: @SafeNow
  249. SafeNow says:

    Thanks for that. With apologies and respect to Mr. Coffee, you can’t beat that percolator coffee fragrance and sound. And the ritual. Here’s the old Maxwell House ad with the percolator jingle. Younger commenters who are curious, here is what a percolator is.

  250. Rosie says:
    @John Johnson

    The difference is that ebay is associated with used goods sold by individuals.

    I don’t bother with ebay precisely because it’s so hard to find anything used there. Etsy is the place to go for that. You can find vintage tupperware or unique, custom handmade stuff there or whatever. Since you’re dealing with a person with an email address, customer service is often excellent.

    I don’t think advertising works nearly as well as it once did because of product reviews online. That kind of consumer-to-consumer information sharing means that you have to keep producing quality. Any slacking off and it will be noticed and reflected in consumer reviews.

    I am not very brand loyal, but Tide is one of those things I won’t do without. I don’t use it all the time, though. It’s great when you have young kids who are so messy that pretreating stains isn’t practical and you don’t want to risk your clothes getting ruined.

    The other thing is Dawn. I won’t use anything else, and wouldn’t if it were free. Because it’s dish soap, you can wash anything with it, even the floor your baby crawls on or your dog eats off and you know it’s safe. Still, it’s more powerful than some much-more-toxic cleaners.

  251. @songbird

    Oh, man, Songbird, it’s the gas pump ads that piss me off the most. I’ll put that latch-open piece in place, if they’ve got one, or otherwise wedge in my gas cap, and walk far away while the gas is pumping. If the sound could be controlled, that’d be different. I’ve come very close to spraying a little 87 Octane into the speaker. I try to remember which stations have this, but I don’t always.

    Some marketing people must be anti-societal sickos.

  252. frankie p says:
    @Nikolai Vladivostok

    Report from Taiwan,

    They changed the name to Darlie more than 20 years ago, when Colgate-Palmolive bought a 50% stake in Hawley & Hazel Chemical Company, the owner of Darkie. Yes, the name in Chinese is still 黑人牙膏, literally “black man toothpaste”. But still your beating heart, for there is a competitor called “white man toothpaste”, 白人牙膏!

    • Replies: @Biff
  253. Advertising on these platforms is very effective. If I see a negro encouraging me to buy something, I immediately make a purchase. The negroes in these advertisements are so incredibly compelling. One is just drawn to them, because of their lovable personalities.

    I encourage all these corporations to continue their use of Black representatives. They are awesome and everyone loves them.

    • LOL: InnerCynic
  254. @Prosa123

    Democrats and Republicans

    • LOL: Rosie
  255. @WorkingClass

    Yes, and essentially the same as iSteve’s point about postwar appliances actually offering real value. If you don’t have excess disposable income, you aren’t concerned about “which” brand to buy, hence advertising is irrelevant. The cheapest one is the obvious choice. Postwar Americans had both real choices and the money to choose with.

  256. @anon

    “Back in the day, mail order ads were always tested. ..”

    A lot of mail order advertising is pretty sloppy. I am still getting expensive looking glossy clothing catalogs addressed to someone who used to own the place where I live but like 15 years ago.

  257. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    You’re right, you could write a book on just this commercial. And you’re just the man for the job.

    Call it, “I Love A Gal In A Uniform.”

    (Bobby Short never heard of, much less played, the song on which that title is based, but perhaps you could find a recording of him playing Cole Porter’s “You’re The Top,” with the often-bowdlerized lyrics, “You’re the top! You’re the Great Houdini! You’re the top! You’re Mussolini!”)

  258. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Great ‘short write-up’ Germ Theory.

    I remember that commercial well. I was a newlywed in those days and yes, I remember buying ‘Charlie’ for my wife. We are still married(50+ years) and I believe one of those old bottles of “Charlie” is still around, hiding in the back of one of our medicine cabinets, with a little perfume still inside.

    I agree, that’s a great ad.

  259. Biff says:
    @frankie p

    Yes, the name in Chinese is still 黑人牙膏, literally “black man toothpaste”. But still your beating heart, for there is a competitor called “white man toothpaste”, 白人牙膏!

    Which one are you gonna buy?

    • Replies: @Nikolai Vladivostok
  260. Alfred says:

    In 2015-18, I had a tiny business selling online car parts in Australia. I had hundreds of different wheel bearings for German cars, for example.

    I tried Adwords. I also installed some Javascript that updated a database of mine whenever one of my web-pages was loaded by a browser anywhere. I found that although Adwords was billing me for “clicks”, my actual views were a tiny fraction of those claimed – under 10%

    Of course, I quickly disconnected from this Scam.

    I tried alerting the press – e.g. the Financial Times, – but they were not interested. I guess they were all in on the game. I am sure they treat adverts by Bosch and Proctor & Gamble differently.

    It was almost impossible to get Google to parse my website and my items could not be found by searching on Google. My ex-wife gave away my stock with a list price of \$40,000 for \$2000. 🙂

  261. mcohen says:

    steve sailor

    you should know that internet advertising is simply another language like German or Russian except it is not spoken by humans but spoken by product.Google ad words is a good example.algorithms of non human thought and action
    The problem is that the language has no moral anchor.No humanity.

    Worst of all it will become the backbone of machine language.2001 space odyssey “hal” type robot language.

    It is not “war of the worlds” but “war of the words”

    • Agree: Polemos
  262. Miro23 says:

    They say that Google gets most of its revenue from Adwords so a big question is their effectiveness.

    I started using them as part of a business (specialized product) in 2002 and they were incredibly successful. Precise match keywords and phrases (not general match words) in simple text adverts only cost a few cents but would return daily lists of genuinely qualified buyers – sometimes with ad/click through rate as high as 5%.

    Result that I was buying thousands of exact match keywords to cover every search word /phrase variant imaginable (helped by Adword software offering suggestions based on historic search word use).

    The situation changed within a few years as the number of Adword buyers ballooned and words that originally sold for 2c were bid up to 100c or more. IOW Adwords are now much less visible and much more expensive and basically a waste of time and money.

    In my opinion, current online advertising that works is provided by portals (that are battling it out). When a portal wins it can be enormously successful (for example Amazon) and vendors are more or less obliged to use it (and of course get suitably screwed).

  263. @Anonymouse

    Making things more expensive so that people will buy them – isn’t this how upmarket clothes brands, the Mulberry/Hermes/Louis Vuittons work?

    This gives me the excuse to quote from this great 1930s work again. This quote has the iSteve favourites of golf and marketing:


    Suddenly he gave a start. Something queer was going on inside him. He sniffed the air once, and then again, and then the half-forgotten past came rushing to him across the wasted years. The shining rows of clubs, the boxes of balls, the scent of leather and rubber and gripwax and pitch, the club-makers filing away over the vices and polishing and varnishing and splicing and binding, the casual members waggling a club here and there, the professional listening courteously to tales of apocryphal feats, all the old familiar scenes of his youth came back to him. It was eleven years since he had played a game of golf, thirteen years since he had bought a club. Thirteen wasted years. Dash it, thought Donald, damn it, blast it, I can’t afford a new club—I don’t want a new club, but I’m going to buy a new club. He spoke diffidently to one of the assistants who was passing behind him, and enquired the price of the drivers.

    “It’s a new lot just finished, sir,” said the assistant, “and I’m not sure of the price. I’ll ask Mr. Glennie.”

    Mr. Glennie was the professional himself. The great man, who was talking to a member, or rather was listening to a member’s grievances against his luck, a ritual which occupies a large part of a professional’s working day, happened to overhear the assistant, and he said over his shoulder in the broadest of broad Scottish accents, “They’re fufty-twa shullin’ and cheap at that.”

    Donald started back. Two pounds twelve for a driver! Things had changed indeed since the days when the great Archie Simpson had sold him a brassy, brand-new, bright yellow, refulgent, with a lovely whippy shaft, for five shillings and nine-pence.

    His movement of Aberdonian horror brought him out of the dark corner into the sunlight which was streaming through the window, and it was the professional’s turn to jump.

    “It’s Master Donald!” he exclaimed. “Ye mind me, Master Donald—Jim Glennie, assistant that was at Glenavie to Tommy Anderson that went to the States?”

    “Glennie!” cried Donald, a subtle warm feeling suddenly invading his body, and he grasped the professional’s huge red hand.

    “Man!” cried the latter, “but I’m glad to see ye. How lang is’t sin’ we used to ding awa at each other roon’ Glenavie? Man, it must be years and years. And fit’s aye deein’ wi’ yer game? Are ye plus sax or seeven?”

    “Glennie,” said Donald sadly, “I haven’t touched a club since those old days. This is the first time I’ve set foot in a professional’s shop since you took me that time to see Alec Marling at Balgownie the day before the War broke out.”

    “Eh man, but you’re a champion lost,” and the professional shook his head mournfully.

    “But, Glennie,” went on Donald, “where did you learn that fine Buchan accent? You never used to talk like that. Is it since you came south that you’ve picked it up?”

    The big professional looked a little shamefaced and drew Donald back into the dark corner.

    “It’s good for trade,” he whispered in the pure English of Inverness. “They like a Scot to be real Scottish. They think it makes a man what they call ‘a character.’ God knows why, but there it is. So] I just humour them by talking like a Guild Street carter who’s having a bit of back-chat with an Aberdeen fish-wife. It makes the profits something extraordinary.”

    “Hi! Glennie, you old swindler,” shouted a stoutish, red-faced man who was smoking a big cigar and wearing a spectroscopic suit of tweeds. “How much do you want to sting me for this putter?”

    “Thirty-twa shullin’ and saxpence, Sir Walter,” replied Glennie over his shoulder, “but ye’ll be wastin’ yer siller for neither that club nor any ither wull bring ye doon below eighteen.”

    A delighted laugh from a group of men behind Sir Walter greeted this sally.

    “You see,” whispered Glennie, “he’ll buy it and he’ll tell his friends that I tried to dissuade him, and they’ll all agree that I’m a rare old character, and they’ll all come and buy too.”

    “But fifty-two shillings for a driver!” said Donald. “Do you mean to say they’ll pay that?”

    “Yes, of course they will. They’ll pay anything so long as it’s more than any other professional at any other club charges them. That’s the whole secret. Those drivers there aren’t a new set at all. They’re the same set as I was asking forty-eight shillings for last week-end, but I heard during the week from a friend who keeps an eye open for me, that young Jock Robbie over at Addingdale Manor had put his drivers and brassies up from forty-six shillings to fifty, the dirty young dog. Not that I blame him. It’s a new form of commercial competition, Master Donald, a sort of inverted price-cutting. Na, na, Muster Hennessey,” he broke into his trade voice again, “ye dinna want ony new clubs. Ye’re playin’ brawly with yer auld yins. Still, if ye want to try yon spoon, tak it oot and play a couple of roons wi’ it, and if ye dinna like it put it back.”

    He turned to Donald again.

    “That’s a sure card down here. They always fall for it. They take the club and tell their friends that I’ve given it to them on trial because I’m not absolutely certain that it will suit their game, and they never bring it back. Not once. Did you say you wanted a driver, Master Donald?”

    “Not at fifty-two shillings,” said Donald with a smile.

    Glennie indignantly waved away the suggestion.

    “You shall have your pick of the shop at cost price,” he said, and then, looking furtively round and lowering his voice until it was almost inaudible, he breathed in Donald’s ear, “Fifteen and six.”

    Donald chose a beautiful driver, treading on air all the while and feeling eighteen years of age.

    • LOL: Alfred
  264. Have not read all the comments, but it seems that most of the swings are not even hitting the advertisement ball. I wonder if someone considered following 2 lines of thought:

    1. All important CEO’s are part of TC or CFR or Intel. These brothers and sisters may act as fierce competitors, but behind the curtains they all support a common cause.

    So to make pure Intel products like Google and others work as succesful massive data gathering tools, all Intel family members have to chip in for its financing and to make it look as a true for profit business. Generously paying for useless advertising is one way to sponser under the guise of business dealings. So if there would be any ROI it is just collateral benefit. But ROI is otherwise without relevance. The real ROI and goal is then to keep all of us thinking that Google is a private and for profit company and that we could not possibly believe that it is just a giant Intel data gathering tool and influencing machine for our real governors.

    2. That on TV all product advertisement always has been a collective smokescreen to hide the fact that the true advertisement is only in the narrative passed-on in the News broadcasts. To make us all (and also all journalists) think that there exists something as genuine and objective journalism. Thus masterfully hiding that these mainstream TV stations are just influencing fronts for Intel, mainly to make us think in a particular illusive and naive way about the present and about history: Like that in US there is a 2 party system, or that there exits such a thing as representative democracy where the will of the people has relevance or that voting is in any way influential to what Intel (or or real governors) make our ‘elected’ government do.
    Also here is paying for advertisement a legitimate sponsoring to make these Intel fronts look like profitable and private businesses.

    Am I to pessimistic or to realistic or also missing the ball?
    Sine Qu Anon

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    • Agree: Alfred
    • Thanks: Emslander
  265. Alfred says:

    the New Coke fiasco

    At the time, I suspected that this was the intention. Coke got a tremendous amount of free advertising in newspaper articles and on TV. Maybe they were not that smart. I don’t know. 🙂

  266. Spect3r says:

    I can share your sentiment, but when you have Websites where you can barely see the content because is buried in a sea of ads. Ads on a Youtube video (sometimes 2) every 5 to 7 minutes, etc, an Ad block is really the only way to go.
    So, unless some things change, I will keep using not 1 but 2 ads blocks at ALL times.

    • Agree: johnnyuinta
  267. “Eventually, they got eBay to do some RCTs.”

    Root canal treatments?

    Didn’t know eBay was licenced to practice endodontics!

  268. @Biff

    Anything but the English man toothpaste.

  269. Stop buying the things advertised on those two “giants” to get back the country. Without godless sums of money the two cannot harm the traditional America. Act now or be ready to face consequences!

  270. Josh Kenn says:

    I guess Steve didn’t get the memo about 20 years ago that advertising is about control, not market share. Everything is a cartel, so there is no need for marketing besides control.

  271. @Kratoklastes

    Housewives are price sensitive for the family’s daily needs. A night out with the husbands or girlfriends… not so much. However that night out is why they try to save at the grocery store.

  272. I’m so old, I don’t even know what modern commercials are trying to sell anymore. So I’m in the ads not working camp. Heck Hallmark has three channels to sell their cards and ornaments. I watch all three from time to time, and can’t remember when I bought any of their products. Also when you watch their older movies, you realize how bad things their new stuff is. Can’t even begin to imagine how lame their cards must be these days.

  273. VICB3 says:
    @Inquiring Mind

    It’s not the ads. It’s how long it takes the God damned ads to load!

    (And it’s worse if you’re using WiFi.)

    I’ve enabled ad blocker. On this page alone, there are 41 items blocked. Plus, even if you block them, they still try to load themselves, meaning that with all the trackers going back and forth the page still takes longer to load than it should. (Esp. true lately if there is embeded Youtube, Twiter or Facebook content.)

    And Unz is one of the ‘Good’ sites in that regard!

    If you’re talking about someplace like the Daily Mail, then the delay in page loading is off the scale. Meaning, in the interest of time, you learn simply to avoid it.

    Consider also the bandwidth hogging ads that want to show you an mini TV commercial. Like you or I have nothing better to do than sit there drooling while the TV ad related to something we might have searched for elsewhere tries to hold our attentions.

    Not only do you avoid the site, but you learn to despise the product being advertised.

    I’ve avoided social media altogether and from the beginning, so at least I’m not plagued by that. But I’ve also learned to do my searches for products on, say, Amazon, Google (kicked to the kerb),
    Yandex or even DuckDuckGo in private mode to avoid the pingbacks that result in suddenly being bombarded for, say, geriatric supplies simply because I bought something for my grandmother.

    With the exceptions of a few interesting product sites – EngineDYI for example – I’d be the first to agree that not only does internet advertising as conceived not work, but serves to actively drive away the customer from the website and product.*

    Just a thought.


    *I’ll also ad that it very much has the potential to serve as a totalitarian panopticon that may work against you should political winds shift even further. But that’s a topic for later discussion.

    • Replies: @anon
  274. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Yep…remember it well. And a gay pianist (Bobby Short) to add icing to the cake.

  275. Levtraro says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Your explanation makes a lot of sense. So the advertising industry may rely on the same grounds as electoral politics: the vast majority of people are gullible decision-makers, enough to rise prices of consumer products thus wasting resources.

  276. The only ads that work for me are the weekly grocery specials that show up in my mailbox on Tuesday.
    I don’t buy things on sale I don’t normally use either.

    • Replies: @johnnyuinta
  277. Agent76 says:

    Feb 24, 2021 Yes, Big Tech is Censoring Speech: Now What?

    Big technology companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook have come under scrutiny for the ways they are—and are not—controlling speech on their platforms.

  278. Proctor & Gamble did a study a few years ago on the effectiveness of advertising on sales. What they discovered is that it was effective only when a new product was introduced to the market. For anything that had been on the market for a while, the money was pretty much wasted, and returns were minimal, at best. I never heard what sort of course correction they might have employed, but I’m sure they didn’t keep funneling money into a black hole.

    If I heard that, working as a contractor for P&G, I’m sure it wasn’t privileged information or a secret. However I never looked into it beyond that, so I’ve no idea how marketing companies responded.

  279. @Jonathan Mason

    It’s not the advertising that leads to the difference in cost of these products, it’s the legacy costs associated with building the facilities and running them. Manufacturing anything in the West, especially highly developed countries, is extremely expensive for a multitude of reasons including labor costs (with insurance requirements, retirement accounts, vacations, sick days, etc.), safety regulations (OSHA), import duties on materials from outside the country, environmental costs, and government required record keeping and reporting. These last two are much more onerous and expensive than the average person may imagine, but the alternative is the possibility of another Enron level scandal on the one hand, and an environmental wasteland on the other.

    People would be surprised at how few people in an organization like P&G actually focus on the product, like Pampers, compared to the number of people who focus on things sometimes several levels removed from how the company makes money, because we live in a society.

  280. Brutusale says:
    @Mark Roulo

    Not enough to overcome Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club with their half-the-price-of-Gillette blades.

  281. For a short time I lived in Thailand and operated an online camera and phone sales business. Google shopping was being promoted at that time so I jumped on board to give it a try. It’s a scam in every which way imaginable. You have absolutely NO idea where the clicks are coming from or if they’re all from a click farm designed to drain your ad budget to zero. I sold only TWO phones within a span of seven minutes of each other and never got another nibble. It was so surreal that I told the wife “Thats it… we’re out!” When you have bricks and mortar you can see and measure foot traffic and sales but out on the net its a giant sucking sound leading to ruin. Its not worth it. When all you see and read are marketing mavens “telling” you how its done, because their livelihoods depend on it, then its time to run away. You don’t need them. Another poster made a good point… the systems are deliberately obtuse and confusing in order to screw with your head and drain your piggy bank.

    • Thanks: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @T.Rebon
  282. @Just another serf

    Funny. It has gotten to the point that the more I see this racial advertising propaganda the more I despise the brand. No different than the constant LGTBQXYZ123 bullshit. Rainbows and the word “pride” in your propaganda? Consider yourself dead to me.

    • Agree: johnnyuinta
  283. @anon1234

    Machine type, amount of load, and water temperature all have as big an impact as the detergent.

    Not to mention type of water used (soft, hard, somewhere in between).

  284. @John Johnson

    I’ve spent over twenty years on ebay buying and selling. Everything from used, but new, to new new. They transitioned from mostly used and collectibles to offering “stores” for vendors. Its more of an umbrella e-commerce site now than the wild and wooly days of yore… and a lot less fun. I stick pretty much to what I know and ignore everything else. Lately there are not as many good deals to be found. Facebook is getting into the game with their marketplace but the dweebs pestering me to lower my prices only solidifies my resolve to tell them to eff off. I dont recall ever seeing anything on my ads that says “Hey there!… it may not say it but you can riddle me with your begging and plaintive cries about lowering my prices” Dumb bastards. I ignore them all and surprising someone always comes along and buys what I’m offering because I price it in such a way they can’t ignore it.

  285. Emslander says:

    My guess is that the average consumer, faced with a dizzying and confusing array of brands and sub-brands, will just grab the one that is at eye level.

    Marketplace promotion is probably much more effective.

  286. @Alden

    This a great example of the interesting regional differences in the U.S., what Steve refers to as the “old, weird America”. Shaped by the different ethnic groupings which settled different parts of the country, covered in Hackett-Fisher’s Albion’s Seed, et al.

    Agree with you on the Tide; but not on the breakfast pork products. In the Midwest/Mid-Atlantic we have both Bob Evans and Jimmy Dean sausages. Bob Evans started his business in Ohio back in the late 40’s, ultimately culminating with 400+ retsaurants in 18 states; the brand is now owned by Golden Gate Capital (Albany, NY); Jimmy Dean was a Texas boy who became a country singer (most famous for “Big Bad John”, among others), and then started his own breakfast sausage company as his singing career wound down. His brand is across the South. I’ve never heard of your Farmer John brand, but I would not disabuse you of your positive opinion of it; I’ll bet its just as tasty in its own right as my preferred brands noted above.

    • Replies: @Alden
  287. Emslander says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Europe allows fewer cosmetic ingredients in their foods. Home-made ketchup is dark, because it requires a lot of cooking down, but in the good ole US fake colors are added to the commercial product.

  288. Jiminy says:

    I wonder if a lot of it isn’t just self perpetuating business for each other, a bit like a dog chasing its tail. Here during the new flu lockdown, a billionaire businessman was given 22 million dollars to provide paid employment for his staff instead of sacking them, even though his company made a 465 million dollar profit during the period.
    People said hang on , why would a billionaire making a multi million dollar profit during the worst times of the modern era need to be paid out of the public purse. Then the radio stations got on the bandwagon and started to ask questions of him as well.
    The billionaire then went onto the airwaves and reminded the radio stations that while he has control over his money, he can pay for advertising on their radio stations.
    Suddenly the subject is dropped never to be heard of again. Certainly money talks. A lot of it seems to be a select boys club, where if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. Probably a power kick as well.
    I myself have never sat through his ads and then raced out to his store to buy something. Same as the ads that pop up on the internet that I usually ignore.
    But I must admit that it is a pleasure to be able to peruse the unz site without being assaulted by advertisements. From the sublime to the ridiculous, a website that I used to look at, the war zone, is so littered completely with ads that my iPad crashes constantly.
    His site must need the ads but he lost my patronage.

  289. Emslander says:

    What if none of it really works?

    Trump did his political advertising differently. He didn’t spend as much on TV and in newspapers. I truly believe that it has something to do with the way he’s treated by the journalist industry. Political advertising is a payoff, pure and simple, and it might be enough every two years to make the difference between profit and loss for some of the media.

    I also suspect that much of the profit in the tech industry comes from spending by every level of government, from schools for computers that don’t help in education to huge cloud server farms that are rented by the Defense Department.

    The happiest and most productive people I’ve met are Amish farmers. They work the way everybody worked before 1945 and their housewives do everything the old way. Their food is therefore better, because it’s all made naturally, and the women aren’t worried about what they’re going to do to “define” themselves. They don’t go to college to learn how horrible it is to satisfy the men and have lots of babies.

    You can take this further. What if twelve carrier assault groups are entirely ineffective against new Chinese and Russian weapons? What if it’s just government borrowing and money printing that keeps some spending going? What if the love of families is the most satisfying emotion in the universe?

    Just asking.

    • Agree: Polemos
    • Thanks: johnnyuinta
    • Replies: @InnerCynic
  290. @Just another serf

    I was in Trader Joe’s a few days ago and in the red wines section were bottles of Gangsta Rappa Snoop Dog Wines. I was confused, I had thought Purple Drank was sweetened grape juice.
    I then went to Walgreens to fetch a prescription and the marketing genius have all black hair products displayed prominently while waiting in line for all 99.9% of whites who live in the area.
    I once believed these were all strategically placed products for black shoplifters until I saw video of black shoplifters loading up shopping carts, bags and walking out the store without paying. I soon after read that Walgreens had closed nine stores in the San Francisco area due to rampant shoplifting.

    When you make it legal to steal up to \$950, my marketing slogan for Walgreens would be:

    All Products Are \$1000 Each, Discounts Given At Checkout.

    • Replies: @InnerCynic
  291. Alden says:

    The reason Tide is superior is because it has some kind of mordant in it that opens up the fibers so the detergent really gets into it. So the fabric really gets like deep cleaning. I’ve never noticed detergent smell. Use tide and you’ll never need bleach or ammonia. I might sound like some kind of 1950s laundry AD. But it really is better than any other laundry detergent, , like Sally Hansen nail polish is the ultimate best. Or Joy and lily of the valley Dior perfumes are the ultimate.

  292. Alden says:
    @Captain Tripps

    We have Jimmy Dean sausage in California. Farmer John ham is a local S California product. Not as ultra great as Smithfield but almost and not expensive. California never had the German population to make great sausage as the rest of the country.

    • Thanks: Captain Tripps
  293. @OilcanFloyd

    “When I do see good/witty advertisements, they often overshadow the products to the point where I remember the ad and not the product. . . .”

    Too many advertising people forget that their job is to sell the product or service. Instead, they try to be “entertaining.” Bullshit. The product or service is overlooked or forgotten.

    Are celebrities effective in selling products? That’s open to question. Do you remember back in the 1980s when Henry Fonda did commercials for GAF film? John Houseman for Smith, Barney (“They make money the old-fashioned way–they EARN it.”)? James Garner and Mariette Hartley for (I believe) Polaroid?

    And how about the ubiquitous AARP reverse mortgage commercials featuring Tom Selleck? Whatever one thinks of Selleck, he’s no financial authority. . . .

    • Replies: @OilcanFloyd
  294. BB753 says:

    Google and Facebook don’t worry about revenue. Their business model is spying and social engineering.

    • Agree: Agent76, johnnyuinta
  295. @Anonymouse

    That would make a lot of sense. I can’t remember the product, I think it was vodka, but someone was telling me that there are two brands of vodka, a high price and a low price that actually come from the exact same batch. The high price is sold in fancy bottles to high end night clubs, while the low end is sold as well to dive bars. I would imagine that this would be true for a large number of products where the ability to tell the difference between one brand and the other is difficult and the label matters.

    In general, anytime a company can segment its customer base on the basis of price elasticity of demand and figure out how to sell at different prices to each segment it will make more money. Price elasticity is how sensitive a consumer is to price: if you raise price, do the consumers run away or stick with you? In a market with high and low elasticity segments, selling at a common price to each segment is sub-optimal. The non-sensitive segment won’t increase their purchases, but a lot of possible sales are lost among the price sensitive segment. Ideally, you want to jack up the price to those who will happily pay an arm and leg while simultaneously offering a very low price to the elastic segment.

    This is price discrimination 101 and is the basis for senior discounts at the movies and differences in airline ticket prices for early and late buyers. It wouldn’t surprise me that “same wine, different bottles” is a segmenting technique that a lot of companies use.

  296. Advertising spending is a jewish money laundering racket

    plain as the nose on their faces

    look at what they spend the ad money ON, ffs….woke crap that alienates their core consumers. Like directly insults and demeans them.

    it is jews in their advertising/marketing departments funneling corp money to their cousins who run ad agencies.

    there is no other plausible explanation for this or how Hunter Biden (or any “artist”) could be selling garbage for so much money

    it is all money laundering

    • Agree: InnerCynic
  297. indocon says:

    Advertising underpins the war of elites against common whites

  298. @Jonathan Mason

    You make a decent point. Is advertising about increasing sales or more about creating and maintaining a perception among a customer base that there are no good alternatives to your product?

    Advertising might be described as an attempt to occupy mental shelf space. By making sure ads for my product are ubiquitous, seen on TV, heard on the radio, seen on ZuckFace, etc., I am helping to make sure that when someone says “I need a new X” the first and only thing that pops into their head is my brand.

    There might even be longer term corporate planning dimensions related to discouraging new entrants. If my ads are all over the place, I create the impression among a potential competitor that the costs and risks of entry into my market are high – like a “good luck getting your sales off the ground newbie, I am the only game in town” kind of thing. This would be more effective in markets with substantial start-up/fixed costs.

    So studies that look at changes in sales against changes in ad spending might be missing the point. Advertising is more about creating long term pricing power by creating the impression that there are no good substitutes to what you offer. Advertising is less about sales growth (especially for established brands) and more an element of a kind of hybrid war among corporate oligopolies.

  299. TKK says:
    @Jack D

    And when I look at the ingredients on the back of all the Crest brands- 3D White, Total- it is all the same ingredient. Sodium Fluoride. That’s it. It’s all flash, marketing and bright colors. Same stuff.

    Helpful side note: If you have tooth sensitivity, Tom’s of Maine Rapid Relief actually works and has different ingredients: arginine and calcium carbonate. You can rub it directly on your tooth and it works immediately.

    • Thanks: Captain Tripps
  300. T.Rebon says:

    What’s about the ads buying good News thing? Media will write you down if you don’t buy ads.

    How much did you e.g. read about soft drinks will cause diabetis if shugar is replaced with artifical sweeting? Surely you will if the companies stop ads, even if it’s only suspected.

    Media and ads are two sides of the same coin.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  301. babu says:

    It does not really matter because all of it owned by the same people. The government+bankers.

  302. Anonymous[304] • Disclaimer says:

    In advertising there are two types of sales. Direct and Indirect.

    There are advertisements for products and services men and women see (primarily women) and think to themselves they must have it so they immediately buy it. This is a direct sale.

    An indirect sale is every other sale. This is when brand recognition is automatic. Companies continue advertising for this effect. The goal is to remain in the consumer’s stream of consciousness. Whenever the consumer has a want or need to be satisfied they think of such and such a product or service.

    These wants and needs vary tremendously. A few examples would be the desire to improve one’s appearance, increase status or make a certain activity easier, less time consuming or more enjoyable.

    The biggest waste of money comes from consumers buying all this stuff. Advertisers have been successful in linking purchases to experiencing happiness. MOST things people buy they only FEEL they want or need. FEW people actually THINK.

  303. anon[366] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s not the ads. It’s how long it takes the God damned ads to load!

    On what browser?

    You may need to switch. The new ones port bookmarks very easily.

  304. @Crescent Moon

    @Cresent Moon,

    I am a prolific “Sale Circular” shopper. They come every Tuesday by me. I go thru the circulars and make mental notes, then when I am ‘making my rounds’ during the week, I’ll pop into the different markets and buy a few “sale” items. I am retired, so I am able to do this as a hobby of sorts.

    I do the staple shopping always at the discount grocer (Winco) as they have by far the best everyday prices. Then I have favorite stores for meat, a different one for produce etc. I have specific items I buy at specific stores. I can afford to shop at fufu gourmet and specialty stores, but enjoy the challenge of keeping my food pantry stocked at the lowest possible price……Note – I was in the wholesale food distribution business for 30 years.

    I do the exact same at COSTCO. I go there for specific items, not for impulse buying. I know they rotate the items in their sale circular and usually the same items appear every 3-4 months. I try to never buy those items at ‘regular’ price because I know they will be “on sale” next month.

    My German Mom and Dad were young adults during the Depression and pounded into us…..”Don’t waste money”….It always stuck with me.

  305. Bayviking says:

    If Americans didn’t have to listen to the same stupid ads, over and over again, their lives would improve immediately.

    If they realized they don’t have to pay a cable company \$120/month to blast that bullshit in their ears, they might be happier. But most don’t know any better, let alone that it is not permitted in some socialist countries.

    TV ads are so annoying I cannot watch TV without a recorder. Internet ads are even worse. Fuck Google and Facebook.

    • Replies: @Curle
  306. @johnnyuinta

    Costco has Michelin tires on sale for \$70 off for 3 weeks, then it has Bridgestone tires for \$70 off for 3 weeks, then Michelin, etc.

    I suspect most retailers increasingly strive for more random schedules of sales to segment their market into patient and impatient shoppers.

    • Agree: Jett Rucker
    • Replies: @Polemos
  307. Grant says:

    My thoughts on this are that advertising is another way to ‘launder’ money to where you want it. The return is unmeasurable, but hey, you spent it all on advertising, so is a legitimate ‘expense’. Similar to the apocryphal story of \$400 toilet seats for the military in the 80’s. A side benefit is that it crowds out any other message, simply preventing space to someone else. Finally, it’s about being seen to be a big wheel and hang with the ‘right’ crowd. I can never see how all those private boxes and signage at major sport events make a return on the investment. But, the CEOs get to hang with Bernie E. in Monaco.

  308. I know what to think. Company A spends billions on advertising. Company B spends zero. Do you want your money to support A’s ads? All else being equal, buy company B’s product.

    When you notice a company spending a lot on ads, search for its competitors.

    Buy what you need. Don’t impulse-buy. Avoid Apple like the plague it is. Just Say No to google and expletive-book. Boycott the usual suspects. And NEVER trust macrosaft TM.

    I have spoken.

  309. I worked at a tab house during the 80s and 90s and I think I worked on that data. It was called SCAN*TRACK or something and had some former MRI people. (Didn’t Nielsen buy it and kill it?)

    Everything was in a database and, compare to other consumer studies, it was a joy to work with.

  310. @Matthew Kelly

    Wicked innit? How many classics have you heard murdered this week? Du-du-du-duhhh!

  311. JLK says:

    Advertising isn’t just about influencing consumer choice, there are underlying themes in the ads that are an application of corporate leverage with respect to different issues and associated factions. Similar to news interviews that have props in the background.

    • Agree: Polemos
  312. @Anonymouse

    The UK tax people tried to disallow advertising expenses as not necessarily incurred in selling products. A soap company proved that lying worked by unsuccessfully selling high quality, no lying, cheap soap and successfully selling low quality, much lying, dear soap.

    The lying worked and the deduction was allowed. That’s a good example of following the tax law and simultaneously acting against the public interest.

    That doesn’t prove that people haven’t come to ignore lying now that it’s so common. You also have to consider that nobody with a website has the common sense or strength to limit the extreme nuisance that liars want to be.

    I’m one of the apparently few who like advertising ( and I’ll take the trouble to try to decide who’s lying). A thin column on the side of the screen with short headlines was all I wanted or could possibly need. If I saw something I was interested in, I’d click on it. That’s impossible now so I have an ad blocker. If I have to unblock a site so I can view it, I try to ignore all of their annoying, website ruining shit. Nearly always, I’m driven off the site.

    I’ve never reduced my purchases of a product because it drove me off a website. Advertising executives don’t care whether or not their company makes profits. Neither do other company executives. Higher managers are just slaves to fashion.

    That’s inevitable because they don’t have the information that would let them do anything sensible. They’re unlikely to seek the needed information because they might be obliged to make an unfashionable decision and that means taking a risk of obvious failure. Given that reality, the less they do, the better. [email protected]

  313. @Emslander

    I’m constantly amazed at how the military industrial complex pimps its goods. For the life of me I cant imagine why anyone believes their bullshit because none of it has really been put to the test. You can’t lay claim that the Abrams tank is so wonderful when all its ever been up against are third world IEDs and our fighter jets have never had to go face to face with a fresh first world adversary. Its all talk until the crying starts. When it does itll be a rude awakening that all that money pissed away was for nothing.

  314. TheBoom says:

    I worked in tech marketing for decades. Most doesn’t work but increasingly the point of marketing is to provide jobs for people in marketing and allow the CEO to say his company is doing something. When CEOs get together and one finds his people aren’t doing whatever everyone else is doing (even if they have determined it doesn’t work) there is hell to pay. In corporations the important thing to do is to jump on any bandwagon that is popular with the executive staff.

    This is a great article written by two organizational behavior consultants about how companies recruit smart people who are smart enough to understand that if they do the smart thing their career will suffer.

    Stupefied: How organisations enshrine collective stupidity and employees are rewarded for checking their brains at the office door

    I have shown this article to executives of global brands in many countries and they all say all of the stupid things discussed in the article happen in their companies

    • Replies: @TheBoom
    , @Levtraro
  315. @Charles

    If any site – whatever it is – stops me because I have AdBlock, I click off the site.

    So long Taki. It was okay before you plastered it up with globohomo ads..

  316. @Coemgen

    couldn’t advertising buys be part of an indirect way of paying-off the propaganda mill that we call “the media?” Is there anything to indicate this could not be “globalists” playing 4d-chess?

    Highly insightful comment. Indeed, this would explain why Big Pharma insists on advertising vaginal deodorant prescription meds or limp penis pills. Nobody is going to buy them based on the unwatchable ads, but they provide leverage against any media stories critical of their opiate business.

  317. @SunBakedSuburb

    I certainly admire Christian culture and its artistic legacy.

    You’re nearly here friend. Once you cross the rubicon and realize that the “Christian” art was just classical white art, you’ll lament that we didn’t have more visually interesting mythology during our classical period.

  318. TheBoom says:

    Side note: before I left the US an SVP of Marketing for a major public tech company tried to recruit me. She said the main thing she looks for in marketing executives is that they are enthusiastic!!!

    Think about that for a moment. Not that they have great ability to identify business opportunities, create profitable programs, design products that increase sales, help the salesforce improve its effectiveness or whatever. It is that they are great cheerleaders. I found that comment to encapsulate everything happening to tech corporate culture.

    When I first got into tech, the titans like Jobs, Gates and Ellison were known for being rude and ruthless. They constantly warnied about doom and gloom if you didn’t do what they wanted.

    Now it is all about people pretending to be happy and true believers in the companies. As employee engagement has plummeted (11 years ago a survey found that only 25% were engaged with their work) the need to pretend you are enthusiastic has climbed.

    This now is the case with CRT and BLM. Anyone who isn’t sufficiently enthusiastic about the narrative is to be punished. Never be the first one who quits clapping.

    • Replies: @TheBoom
  319. Jett Rucker says: • Website

    This entire discussion reminds me of posing a question such as: “If we cut the defense budget by \$100 billion, would the US be any less safe from foreign attack or invasion than it is now?”
    The answer should be obvious to anyone.
    Similar questions can be asked about Education, Medicine, and a whole lot of other popular myths.
    The War on Drugs, for example.
    Or on Poverty.

  320. @johnnyuinta

    ha ha
    We do Winco staples too. Then go for meat at a small store where it is less and better. We shop about 4 stores and sometimes Costco for specific items. Eyeglass are a good value there and olive oil.
    We are also retired, its our hobby. Maybe you live near me, sounds like it.

    • Replies: @johnnyuinta
  321. TheBoom says:

    Side note 2:

    Years back I knew one of the top executive comp consultants in the US. His clients included many of the top Wall Street and consumer products companies.

    Once in debriefing the CEO of one of the giant consumer companies about their compensation system, he told the CEO that the only weakness was they had no system for recruiting the best and brightest from their competitors. The CEO replied that they don’t want the best and brightest and once they identify them in their staff, they get rid of them asap.

    The CEO told him that the best and brightest are creative and always looking for new and better ways of doing things. The company didn’t want to do things better. They wanted staff who would do things the official way without questioning it. I ran this by top executives in other major brands and they said that was true of their companies although they would never admit to it publicly.

    Now with our corporate government alliance if you want to be seen as a good, smart person you have to enthusiastically spout the Narratives you are given. Hate the people you are supposed to hate. Champion the causes you are supposed to champion. It is why the NYT had that recent article warning about the dangers of critical thinking. If you notice, connect dots or research into issues with an open mind you can never have the status, social standing and job security of a devoted follower.

    • Replies: @John Johnson
  322. @Mr Mox

    Well targeted advertising on the internet obviously works. That is pretty hard to dispute given that Google and other make billions from it.

    The success can be measured on both ends with online sales. You search for “Bermuda vacation” and a sponsored result comes up. You click on the sponsored result and both google and the company get a cut. But that isn’t what we are talking about.

    Steve is talking about general advertising. The big corps believe it is necessary to simply advertise their brand even if they aren’t trying to get you to click on something. Is it a worthy investment? I think that is a fair question given how expensive it is.

    I’ve wondered the same thing about superbowl ads. A big corp spends millions on a funny ad but does it actually lead to enough sales to cover the investment? A million dollars could fully sponsor a concert or sports competition. Maybe the experts have done their research but those of us that have worked in an office know that the marketing department always believes in spending more on marketing. It’s in their best interest to exaggerate the results.

    • Replies: @Dave Bowman
  323. Veblen points out — 120 years ago — that the net effect of advertising is zero among products “competing” in the modern commercial market of which it forms a feature. Its presence as a factor in the market merely forces the costs of advertising on all “competitors” so that its “influence,” insofar as there might be any, approximately evens out. Since these “markets” mostly function to eliminate serious (so called “cut-throat”) competition anyways, the cost of advertising is doubly wasted — but still borne by the “consumer” — which is the whole point anyways.

    The one thing advertising does do is raise the basic cost of doing business, which favors larger producers and distribution networks and concentrations of investment, as against that almost mythical creature, the small business and local entrepreneur. One factor Veblen didn’t live long enough to ponder is the contribution of systemic advertising to the creation of a truly Orwellian manufactured pseudo-public domain of mass delusion — the all-pervading flood of “little” lies on which the big battleship lies get floated and in which the spirit of the republic (res publica — common wealth), the spirit of mutual respect among citizen — gets drowned.

  324. Ktulu says:

    I have worked for small businesses in the pre-advertizing stage and know first hand the breakout ad can be huge, even unhandleable.

    Once you made your breakout, people know you exist and you become background noise.

    This is my limited experience with what you clearly know more about, but I suspect the effect of advertising is in fact more dependent on the breakout and then pulling air time from your competitors. What might be most intriguing would be to see if a big brand like Coke could pull all ads and continue exactly the same as before, disregarding another soda company buying up all that add space. That’s an experiment that will never happen because they don’t want to take the risk, and that might be the key to continuing to sell that add space.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  325. Dube says:

    Mentioned above several times is the deployment of advertising money to cajole and control the medium. I’ll add the example of the United Arab Republic buying a stack of multiple pages annually in one issue of TIME, with what seems to be no more than vaguely pleasant content that might have been presented on one page.

  326. @Ktulu

    That was my great idea for my marketing research company: we sell clients tests of cutting advertising that run FOREVER because they always have to be checking whether they’ve cut advertising for too many years. It would have been a huge goldmine for us, but the clients weren’t much interested in saving money on advertising.

    Although I do recall there being a narrow recession in TV advertising around 1986 or 1987 as, I’m guessing, our clients started to absorb the lessons they’d learned from us. I can recall “Advertising Age” trade journal shrinking drastically in that era due to the TV ad business tanking for awhile.

    But then some other stuff happened.

  327. Dube says:

    We can’t let pass the opinion of Hebert Marcuse, who did believe that advertising works. Here’s a cite from Ch.1 of One Dimensional Man; the New Forms of Control, p. 8.

    Here, the so-called equalization of class distinctions reveals its ideological function. If the worker and his boss enjoy the same television program and visit the same resort places, if the typist is as attractively made up as the daughter of her employer, if the Negro owns a Cadillac, if they all read the same newspaper, then this assimilation indicates not the disappearance of classes, but the extent to which the needs and satisfactions that serve the preservation of the Establishment are shared by the underlying population. … Can one really distinguish between the mass media as instruments of information and entertainment, and as agents of manipulation and indoctrination?

    I realize that this goes beyond just toothpaste sales, but Marcuse did point to advertising as creating efficacious “needs and satisfactions” of a “false consciousness.” He even acknowledged the writings of journalist Vance Packard, such as Packard’s 1957 book, The Hidden Persuaders, which examined subliminal strategies in product advertising.

  328. Levtraro says:

    Thanks for the article, it was a very interesting read indeed.

    Usually people think that efficiency is very high on the agenda of every collectivity, such as a company or a corporation, that we live in an fairly efficient social and economic system, or otherwise we wouldn’t have what we have in our modern world. They are wrong.

    Waste, inefficiency and redundancy are in the very nature of everything here on Earth, at the very core of all things around these places. Consider life on the planet. The overwhelming, inmense majority of life is based on harnessing the power of Sun’s irradiance. directly by primary producers or by consuming the primary producers output. Yet the entire edifice of life here is based on a very inefficient and wasteful biochemical process: photosynthesis. Couldn’t nature find a more efficient mechanism for harvesting all those inmense subsidies coming from our star?

    From primary production of biomass through to large human organizations vast inefficiency is the norm. Significant advances happen very rarely yet they are critical turning points responsible for all our progress. After something very important happens, once again nothing really happens for a very long time as mediocre things and people rely on the previous great achievement.

    Probably life on the border of survivability (i.e. in worlds that are on the boundary of the goldilocks zone) would yield much more efficient life forms and intelligence and organizations of intelligent beings. These would not suffer from ads, poor software, electoral democracy, political posturing, environmental degradation, marketing, culture of personality, hubris. Hope we can meet them soon and that they are peaceful and friendly and understanding.

    • Replies: @Dave Bowman
  329. Reaper says:


    Ads (for me) do not work to increase my spending on any goods.

    But easy to create an effect when for sure never will buy/ use something.
    As it happened with World of tanks, or any porn game -> too much ads granted I never used them, and hundreds more services/ goods/ companies end up the same.

  330. Curle says:

    “ If they realized they don’t have to pay a cable company \$120/month to blast that bullshit in their ears, they might be happier.”

    Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation with the lady of the house. She has Fox programming on every moment I’m not there to turn tv off. Can’t pull her off her belief that Fox is an conservative channel. I only watch internet band biographies for the most part.

  331. Polemos says:

    The person happily brainwashed into the Cult wants us to know the brainwashing works.

  332. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation with the lady of the house. She has Fox programming on every moment I’m not there to turn tv off. Can’t pull her off her belief that Fox is an conservative channel. I only watch internet band biographies for the most part.

    Ugh. My relatives have it on 24/7 and I can’t stand it for 5 minutes.

    If they call I sometimes hear it turned up in the background.

    Race denial ‘n freedumb.

    • Replies: @Resartus
  333. @TheBoom

    Now with our corporate government alliance if you want to be seen as a good, smart person you have to enthusiastically spout the Narratives you are given. Hate the people you are supposed to hate. Champion the causes you are supposed to champion. It is why the NYT had that recent article warning about the dangers of critical thinking. If you notice, connect dots or research into issues with an open mind you can never have the status, social standing and job security of a devoted follower.

    The same is true in the Universities. In most departments critical thinking is looked down upon and blind followers are rewarded. If you start connecting the dots then you will be pushed out one way or another. They value students that nod and repeat what they are told.

    The truly disturbing part is that they pretend to value critical thinking and refer to it but without actually using it. There will be sections on a test entitled “use your critical thinking skills” when they mean tell us exactly what we told you. The establishment rewards conformity in just about every area but research. But that is only true for certain types of research. For example if you research racial gaps in education you are fully expected to conform to either liberal or conservative explanations. If you go outside the lines then say goodbye to funding. So it has to be an area that is completely apolitical like chemistry. Only then are you free to ask all the questions you want.

  334. Joe Joe says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I’m not a Costco member. What are the 3 shampoos they carry? I’m guessing Head and Shoulders, Pert Plus and Pantene…

  335. mcohen says:

    the real beauty will be the preloaded product discounts in crypto.Buy the crypto and you get the product but also the potential for the crypto to increase in value therefore costing you less.the converse is the product is crap and the crypto decreases or stays the same.options on product.
    this will reward good stuff and punish crap

  336. @DanHessinMD

    Your item (4) is something I’ve been saying for quite some time. Thirty years ago, how would I have known that Pepsodent made my teeth their whitest if they didn’t advertise? Unless it was on the shelf in front of me, I wouldn’t know it existed. Today I enter “toothpaste” in my favorite search engine (not the big G, the one that doesn’t spy on me) and get fifty options. Of course a lot of those are bullshit sites that are really Amazon affiliate marketing sites, hoping to steer you to the Evil A and get a small cut of the action, but still.

    As you mention in (5), and even worse for the big G, targeted advertising is more wasteful than random advertising. Targeted advertising is spent on people who are already going to buy the product, or people who are never going to buy the product. I once investigated a certain product that I never had any intention of buying, and got ads for it for at least a year. If in that time, they had randomly blasted me with ads for random products there would have been at least some some chance, however small, that I might have actually been interested in what they were pitching and bought some. Hounding me with more ads for stuff I was never going to buy got the advertisers zip. Made big G a lot of money, though.

  337. @Crescent Moon

    @Cresent Moon,

    I’m in Utah, how about you?

    I miss the NYC Metro area for great Italian Olive Oils(Berio, Bertolli, and others) and was using Kirkland Brand for a few years…it’s not bad, but on a whim I tired WINCO Brand EVOO and was pleasantly surprised…it’s pretty good.

    I guess I could go to Caputo’s in SLC and get the premium imported stuff but am sure it would be very high priced there.

  338. Resartus says:
    @John Johnson

    Ugh. My relatives have it on 24/7 and I can’t stand it for 5 minutes.

    Can’t stand most of the anchors on FNC….
    Why I watch Fox Business, though a couple of the anchors I could do without….
    Still get news that relevant and the anchors are worth listening to….

  339. Anonymous[247] • Disclaimer says:

    Yes, I’ve heard anecdotes of this. The advertising budget as protection money. Companies that ‘don’t believe in advertising’ (i.e. in throwing money at newspapers and TV networks) risk having their products badmouthed in the media.

    • Replies: @T.Rebon
  340. Anon[750] • Disclaimer says:
    @Stan Adams

    Wasn’t the kid in red Alphonse Ribeiro (Carlton from the Fresh Prince).

  341. Polemos says:

    I’ve always thought it would be more fair if Facebook was a mutual organization, in which all the users were members and shared in the governance and profit. After all the only real value in FB is all the personal information contributed by the users.

    Imagine if every user can easily see the interaction data for any user, whether their next victim or their ancient flame, their next-door neighbor or their county Sheriff’s Queen, they can browse or search and see how that person engages with the site, what they search for, geolocationally where they most often interact with the site using browser-reported data from free user’s GPS and wireless and Bluetooth and infrared radar and radio telemetry (all opt-out and hard to find out how), and virtually where and for how long their mouse cursor lingers on every single scanned photo fed into the algorithms and their syntrails.

    How might people misbehave if everyone knew everything there was to know about everyone?

    Would it be any better than how we are already giving access to the hundreds of thousands who know now?

    Because while they might still see us, all of us can now see them.

    There is more value to Facebook than simply its arrays of databases of people’s (auto)biographies. The value is the access to the mass mind of geographic regions and its subcultures. That is what’s restricted from the users and heavily leveraged for profit by the Company. Imagine having access to the attempts to change mass minds and the mass behavioral alterations. Facebook is not really about ads, the ads are for the tracking cookies to report behavior in the virtual environment; the ads are a cover, a duck/deer blind, or camouflage. The deer wondering why those fake leaves never fall or turn year after year is the iThinker wondering why selling things does not track with displaying things or forming narratives around them.

    Advertising is a claim to talk to the mass mind. That is why it is a religion and why all religions are advertising. They all claim to cultivate or manage an Oversoul. Some are working for an Oversoul of a different perspective without knowing it. I don’t know why I like this product, but I like the price point and its efficiency. Propaganda, sports fanaticism, nerds who inhabit the lore of their favorite television or (comic) book series, political puppets who dance into office, consumers: the goal is to drive Belief into creating generative realities, with the Money reality and the Techno reality fused in our consensus reality towards domination of all opportunities to create new realities. Every reality superimposed onto our material reality lives so long as you its main participant tacitly agrees never to doubt to any significant extent its appearance as your reality and never to entertain that notion presenting itself from historical shadows as a pervasive, hidden subtext —beneath, behind and beyond what was the smoothest of imminent presentations— that not only is it all an illusion occurring within and for your own genetically delimited perceptual biocognitive limits but one occurring upon and within the currents and eddies generated in a localized neuromorphic manifold created from universal, planetary, and local electromagnetic interactions with the subtle fields surrounding the delicious tumors of neurons and fat inside those folks who believe they are alive and are called the human race, or one of you. Because if you entertain that long enough, you’d be certifiably nuts and incapable of being controlled by just any Oversoul, and thus prone to self-referential, self-appointed autoapotheosis, like thinking you are God and so is every thinking one the same God and thus truly advancing on what it means to Love your neighbor as Your Self, love them as You in there who thinks you are You, even if you don’t know who You are, but You do. And when You love in them who is You, you can’t help but love them as you love yourself, as you learn to love your self, or so You say to you know who.

    Better to not doubt a material reality and never believe in anything but taxes, power, money, death and sarcastic comebacks because you could lose your mind, or easily get distracted.

  342. @Dave Pinsen

    they do enough to entice you within the 5 seconds before the skip button comes up that I don’t skip them right away

    Indeed – they entice you.

    They certainly don’t “entice” me.

    Consider yourself at least half-brainwashed.

  343. @Levtraro

    Couldn’t nature find a more efficient mechanism for harvesting all those inmense subsidies coming from our star?


    From basic first principles of factual situational analysis and logical deduction – No, apparently not – or else it would have done so.

    But then, after all, – can you think of one ?

    And unlike “Nature”, you’re “intelligent”… right ?

    I wish you good luck and much joy in your long and hopeful wait to be rescued from earth’s distress by intelligent, peaceful, friendly and understanding beings from another world.

    • Replies: @Levtraro
  344. Levtraro says:
    @Dave Bowman

    Thanks. It’s okay around here, actually it is quite good, just no need to be surprised for so many stupid things like advertising and marketing and the rise of things that advertise in the internet. A majority of people make useless things for stupid purposes and their output is bought or paid by equally stupid customers and it works, in a self-sustaining cycle of mediocrity, until it doesn’t.

  345. Polemos says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I suspect most retailers increasingly strive for more random schedules of sales to segment their market into patient and impatient shoppers.

    On this note, try placing items you want to purchase into your online shopping cart. See the list has updated, and then just close the whole browser and walk away. Try and forget about it. Maybe in three days or so you’ll see an email from that online shopping store that they’re offering you a discount on the items in your cart. Patience rewarded?

    Even automating the process for how to haggle with patient customers leads to knowledge how to time and prime the customers to match product delivery schedules: or what’s known as farming, herding, ranching, husbandry over housewifery. Water cycles, nitrogen cycles, carbon cycles, seasonal cycles, cultural cycles, economic cycles, &c —and our technical application of our work upon, with, for or against these cycles within cycles, &c.

  346. Sarah says:

    I you have a TV, sell it used; you’ll stop brainwashing yourself and have more time to live.
    I don’t use Crookgle or FB or any other so-called “social” media.
    The few times I’ve looked, I’ve blacklisted the advertised products.

  347. @John Johnson

    Well targeted advertising on the internet obviously works. That is pretty hard to dispute given that Google and other make billions from it

    No, I believe you have completely missed the main point and thrust of Steve’s whole article. There is no “obviously” about it at all.

    Google and the others make billions – NOT from advertising (ie. from their own product sales resulting from media product advertising), but purely as commercial fees income from the ADVERTISERS (via click commission also, of course) – which is not the same thing at all ! The whole point of the article is the question of whether in fact, the corporate advertisers themselves DO actually receive measurably-higher customer revenue (ie. sales profit) from their product sales, as a DIRECT result of more and increased corporate advertising spend – whether on Google or anywhere else.

    The stubborn, unchanging, Board-executive received “wisdom” of the corporate world has always given a resounding “YES” to that question. But coincidentally as Steve points out, even the largest corporations on earth – some would say especially those corporations – have historically taken no interest whatever in any form of genuine, professionally-structured research to actually prove and quantify that time-honoured corporate prejudice as a business fact. It’s almost as if they’re afraid that any “real” scientifically-based specialist research into that central question may actually prove otherwise, and make the whole pampered, protected, pretentious, high-budget corporate advertising world look like a ship of largely worthless – and massively-expensive – fools.

    • Agree: Sarah, Levtraro
  348. Sarah says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    One potential exception to online ads being useless may be the new wave of YouTube pre-roll ads. Some of those are really good: they do enough to entice you within the 5 seconds before the skip button comes up that I don’t skip them right away.

    Use a Youtube AD Blocker👌
    It blocks their ads before they even start👍
    So you don’t have the hassle of waiting for those 5 seconds and having to click “skip ad” on every video👍

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  349. Sarah says:

    I use adblockers on my PC, but on my phone adverts arrive tailored to my approximate age and location, so maybe the lure of online advertising is that Google end up knowing more about you than anyone, and they can sell that info to other advertisers – certainly a lot of our junk post is tailored.

    To avoid this, first stop using Crookgle. And don’t use Bing either (M\$).
    Then, from time to time, delete the cookies.

  350. Anonymous[319] • Disclaimer says:

    I sometimes wish there was a ‘Replay’ option for some of the more unusual ads. Two in particular stick in my mind:

    1) A Korean advert featuring a strange kind of singing I had never heard before
    2) A Taiwanese advert about people visiting a museum in Taipei

    I have no idea what these are and would like to see them again.

  351. I suspect a big ulterior reason for Parler’s takedown is that they posed a risk that ‘conservatives’ would break away economically from big tech. It wasn’t all about Trump. Once there is a separate communications network it will become easy for the Mike Lindell’s of the world to use affinity marketing. People don’t buy his bedsheets because they are less expensive or necessarily better. They buy them because people want to support and be supported by people who truly like them. White / Conservative / Christians know that Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. just hates them and will hang them with the rope they are selling them.

  352. Rubicon says:
    @Matthew Kelly

    How is it, no one here is keeping account of millions of US citizens who are becoming poorer each year? The stats are out there. Add to that: Americans are in debt to the tune of \$14.3 TRILLION.

    As the empire falls even further, the concept of “advertising” will dwindle in tandem with the huge rise of poverty/debt-ridden citizens.

    Go to the economist John Williams at or read thoroughly what economist Dr. Michael Hudson is revealing to us. Use your critical thinking skills to fully understand the full nature of what they are saying, and what it means to millions who won’t be able to succumb to real poverty for their families and themselves.
    Wake UP.

  353. @Orville H. Larson

    I think Rosie’s wet paper towel commercials were better than any star endorsements. I always found product comparison ads to be the best, especially when the flaws weren’t obvious.

  354. Sunshine says:
    @Steve Sailer

    What’s so great about it? It reeks of chemicals and that’s enough to put me off of it. Does it clean better?

  355. T.Rebon says:

    You have absolutely NO idea where the clicks are coming from or if they’re all from a click farm designed to drain your ad budget to zero

    That’s in a market where the product is comparable all over the world. You competing with experienced market participants, They see you little sucker coming and you are not aware they even exist.

    They will suck you dry. Google can’t do anything against them, regardless if you are sitting in Krabi or in a hut near the arctic circle. Modern rules, your product is not internet suitable at that size.

  356. T.Rebon says:

    The advertising budget as protection money.

    Methink that’s not anecdotal, it is one of the main answers for the opening question. Marketing today is at high abstraction level in an ripe market. The main question any marketing manager asks is “will it disturb our brand(s)”?

    N’other thing is subconscience. I regard the whole 20Something public as Clownworld. Let’s say for ease of thinking. Clownworld has it’s rules and narratives. Climachange, FluShots, BLM, WomansLib aso. You have to “howling with the wolves” to be in. Just because being out is to risky.

    How will you do this? Answer: make a statement to the crowd. Company channel here are Media or Ads. So they have to.

  357. Wency says:

    I was told at one point that the most valuable Google search term was “Mesothelioma”. The law firms that engage in asbestos litigation are generally not household names, so when someone wants to look into a lawsuit over mesothelioma, it counts for a *lot* to appear among the top search results. That makes perfect sense to me.

    But yeah, if Coca-Cola didn’t have a consumer-facing website, if searching for Coca-Cola on the web didn’t bring anything up, would anyone notice? Would anyone care?

  358. Joe Blow says:

    I visit a site based on the INTEGRITY AND HONESTY of their writers. The only attention I give advertisers is the time required to close the ad window so I can read

  359. Franco says:
    @International Jew

    Proctor and Gamble didn’t even think 200 million dollars a year of online advertisement would make people more likely to buy their laundry detergents. The claim that several hundred thousand dollars of broken English baloney on Facebook could be decisive in a billion dollar presidential election was always farcical.

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