Marketing in the digital age

Simon Silvester
Wunderman Europe, Middle East and Africa

Back in the 1960s, in the heyday of television advertising, few brands advertised on television apart from foods and household products. So demand for airtime was low. You could launch a brand with a 5,000 rating campaign. And still have money left in your marketing budget. Your ads got noticed too. Consumers had no Xbox, no internet, no mobile phone, no text messages, no Gameboy, no MSN and no Google to distract them. They couldn't even change channel without effort when the ads came on, because no one had remotes before 1978.

But the economics of TV advertising have changed out of all recognition since the 1960s. In the US, Japan and Europe, real consumer incomes are now two to three times higher than then. And so consumers have two to three times as much money to spend. Everyone wants their attention. Banks, computers, mobile phones, ringtones, vacation destinations and utilities all fight for the same ratings. So taking a long look back to the heyday of tv advertising, it's clear that the amount an individual advertiser can afford has collapsed.