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February 07, 2008

Would You Miss Advertising Age?

Continuing my “Would you Miss” series ...


Does Advertising Age provide such a unique publication and reader experience that we would be saddened if it didn’t exist? Does Advertising Age treat its employees so astonishingly well that those workers would not be able to find another employer to treat them as well? Does Advertising Age forge such unfailing emotional connections with its readers that they would fail to find another magazine that could forge just as strong an emotional bond?

What say you?

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There are too many alternatives...which is the problem.

I recommend Fast Company.

Not even a little bit.

The long answer is NO!

Dan ... aren't Fast Company and Ad Age too different to be considered substitute goods? Fast Company focuses on big-picture aspirational business topics while Ad Age delivers current advertising and marketing industry news.

Spike ... since you wouldn't miss Ad Age at all, what information sources (online or offline) do you read to keep up-to-speed on advertising/marketing industry happenings?

Scott White ... what does the Branding Identity Guru read to keep informed on current happenings in the world of branding stuff?

Good question, John. And, quite frankly, blogs are a big source of information. The boys over at AdPulp do a great job of summarizing all the advertising news from many different sources. And then there's blogs like yours and Church of the Customer. Other than that, Wired, Fast Company and Fortune Mags...

As much as I love and live by blogs and alternative media sources, I must say I would miss it. That being said, there is a stack on my desk of about 5-6 recent issues I have not yet looked at.

Fast Company covers info that I'd never expect to see in AA, so it is a tough comparison to make.

With all the information sources out there-not really. What they used to cover, someone else will pick up.

Would I miss it? In a word: yes. In four words: hell to the yes.

@ Branding Agency: you are one smart cookie.

Thanks for the shout out, John.

We'd miss it because AdPulp needs a carcass to feed on.

Fair question--of course--and one we have to ask ourselves all the time. Question, however: What would the likes of Adpulp aggregate/Fast Company lift from/you prompt discussion about if Ad Age didn't do the reporting in the first place? My other question is this: Why do our registration/traffic numbers keep climbing--even after all these years--if we're so easily replaceable?

Oops, I mean Spike. Thanks Spike. You're always there for us.

Well I wouldn't miss it because we're a branding company, not an ad agency. We don't do TV or radio. The closest we get to advertising is print. We never ever compete against ad agencies.

But to answer your question I prefer reading blogs. I have a list of 20 or so blogs that I read and I get Brandweek.

p.s. The company name is Brand Identity Guru, and I thought we were friends...but thanks for the shout out!

Yes, Ad Age helps me keep a finger on the pulse of our industry - and is ahead of many others in terms of reporting on the shift to new marketing models.

But I do not need the print version and stopped subscribing long ago. I use RSS feeds and click to stories that our interesting. And I'd be willing to pay for this, like I do the WSJ.

No problem, David. I've got your back, brother.

I'm trippin'. First, Johan Bloom and I comment at the same time and then I return from lunch to an email advert from Ad Age asking me to subscribe for only $.98. per week with my professional discount.

Jonah, if you'd care to send a comp sub my way, I'll stop calling your mag a carcass. Deal?

David, carcass guy here again: You can get everything but the archives and the most expensive-to-compile data, free at the site. You can sign up for our daily--200,000 others have--or our media news/analysis, or our brand strategy stuff, or our digital stuff... and so on... all free of charge. It'll keep you in fresh meat for a long time to come, I assure you.

John, I was bustin your chops. In your post you wrote "Branding Identity Guru" but we're just Brand Identity Guru. No worries, I'm just a sarcastic guy from Boston! I still deeply care for you...

God now what will you think?

Has anyone heard of this site called Adrants? It's pretty shitty and they have a stick up their ass all the time but sometimes it amuses. It's run by some asshole Steve Hall who thinks he's better than Bob Garfield.

Two cents here, but Ad Age's digital coverage has been pretty darn good over the last year or so. Just sayin'. Without Ad Age, traditional advertising & marketing professionals would have no idea what was going on in digital. It's not like they're reading advertising blogs, unless they're a creative who's getting skewered on one.

Great questions! Would that all of our vendors asked us themselves that every day. No, better yet, before they decided how to respond to customer service requests. No, before they set their priorities for the day, week or month.....

I would miss Ad Age. I just wrote an article for them and they included a picture of me.

It just goes to show how screwed up the idea of big M marketing is that there isn't a single magazine that represents the latest thinking in the field. But, if one needs validation of their particular "fields" of occupation, there are a plethora.

I’ve stayed away from commenting on companies in my “Would You Miss…” series. This time, however, I can’t.

I would miss Advertising Age if it were gone tomorrow. For years I didn’t subscribe thinking there wasn’t anything new I would learn given the other marketing trade pubs and business pubs I read. Funny thing happened, every time I read a pass-along copy I learned something new. The articles are timely. The commentary is interesting. The coverage of important marketing matters is solid. Adweek nor Brandweek cover the marketing trade as completely and compellingly as Ad Age. Each time my Ad Age subscription is set to expire, I renew. Long ago I let my Adweek and Brandweek subscriptions expire.

So yes … to me, Ad Age does provide a unique reader experience that I would be sad if it didn’t exist. Online options do provide me access to similar marketing biz info. I read those online options in addition … to reading my weekly copy of Ad Age.

Of course, I can only speak from the reader/customer end and can’t comment on how Crain Communications, the owner of Ad Age, treats its employees.

Interesting comment about Ad Age John. You post from Seth's Meatball Sundae, "Advertising no longer matters." Since you posted it, do you, by proxy, agree with his statement? You also posted that endearing and enduring brands make employees happy. You then go on to state that you'd miss Ad Age despite the fact that you have no idea whether or not their employees are happy. Meaning that it's not really important to you as a customer. Perhaps the sentiments expressed by you and others, which come across as universal principles, aren't really? Just wondering.

Tom ... aren't you being hyper-literal? The magazine is named "Advertising Age" but this niche-targeted trade magazine covers a wide swath of marketing matters beyond advertising.

Yes, I believe advertising in the sense of blasting commercial messages at consumers is dead. I believe more in spending marketing dollars to make the product/service better, not to make the advertising "better."

By no means am I discounting the need for companies to treat their employees well. I'm just admitting I have no first-hand knowledge (or second-hand knowledge) of how Crain Communications treats its employees. Despite not knowing that aspect of how Ad Age/Crain Communications does business, I would miss the magazine.

Thanks for the clarification John. And no, I don't believe I was being hyper-literal. The only way to make a true impact is to get business leaders to embrace our philosophies. And I believe it's very important to be aware (beware) of hyperbole. I agree with much of what you write as a business trend, but certainly not as a current business reality.

There are a LOT of businesses making a lot of money for executives, shareholders, etc. on the backs of disgruntled employees. And despite this fact, customers continue to purchase the companies' products and services because their needs and desires are being met.

In addition, there are many companies in the CPG industry who are indeed dabbling in the social media space, as well as investing heavily in R&D to innovate for their customers. However, traditional advertising drives the lion's share of their business. To suggest they focus that investment elsewhere, without specifying where and what results to expect, doesn't really advance the marketing dialogue, IMHO.

One more thing from me, given that you started riffing on how we are treated as employees of Crain Communications. The answer, if you ask me, is that we're treated well. My evidence:

1. Private company run by a family with a long-time history of caring about content/editorial above all else. Owners are always available and interested. Decisions--right or wrong--are made quickly.
2. Compensation is at least competitive with any other publisher. End of year bonuses; profit sharing scheme.

Of course our offices are not ad-agency palatial, and there's the occasional byzantine piece of corporate paperwork to negotiate, but all in all it's pretty good--and I'm a big-time cynic, well aware which end I'm on of the owner-producer relationship. We're journos, and journos have historically been treated like crap, even as we've entered a knowledge-based economy. None of us are gonna get rich, but we're working for one of the better publishers in the country as far the things that matter to most of us: Not seeing edit integrity trampled; having (just-about) enough resource to report stuff properly; getting paid enough to stay in journalism without becoming totally twisted.

The biggest problem for Ad Age in this age of interactivity is that advertising people don't seem interested in communicating with each other and sharing ideas as evidenced by the dearth of advertising blogs and the lack of comments on the AdAge blogs.

I've experienced a similar phenomenon up here in Canada, where try as I might I cannot stir the industry from its apparent torpor (e.g.

It seems as if the traditional players in the industry are putting on the blinkers and hoping that whole "radical change" thing will simply blow over. –Simon Billing, Toronto, ON

No, no, and, oh yeah, no.

Great topics on this Blog. And by the way... Advertising Age isn't even worth recycling.

Great topic and a lot of thoughtful posts.

Since the people responding to this question are clearly comfortable with blogs, I'd say our sample is a bit tainted. After all, most of us are comfortable infosnacking using this medium.

Since it's a personal question, yes, I'd miss it. Ad Age has the occasional article I'm not finding in other places.

Ironically, one of the things I'd miss most is the Ad Age Power 150 listing of the top marketing blogs.

Thanks for starting the conversation.

Patrick Byers
Outsource Marketing

The Responsible Marketing Blog

I'm sure plenty of people will be disappointed if such a thing does happen. But as I have learned over the years (and this applies to people, too), there will always be something or someone to take its place. The substitute may not be as effective as first but it will gradually learn. Is Advertising Age really a mammoth of an influence that it has its own unique and unforgettable brand?


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