Saturday, January 7, 2012

Throwing Away Money

   As everyone knows, half of advertising dollars is wasted. 
Yes,  half of all that. And it doesn’t include market research and corporate PR. Just product advertising. Cars and deodorants and bras and watches.  $$$$$$.  I don’t know about you, but my eyes glaze over and my frontal cortex hangs after the $100 billion mark.   Think of all the things you could do with all that wasted cash!  Hire teachers?  Build schools?  Re-build bridges and roads?  Pay for my retirement?

Oh, and I want an Audi too.

But I digress…. The blog is about PR in Japan.

Is Japan any better, as far as wasting money on PR? 
A good question.   Common wisdom is that we not only waste half of our advertising dollars – we never know which half is being wasted!  That, despite market research and hi-tech survey techniques, which anyway are often done by the same companies we are paying for our ad and PR campaigns.
Now, PR and advertising are considered sciences in the US and much time,  effort, and money is devoted to studying them.  But then again economics is considered a science in America too.  And good solid research show that chimpanzees do just as well as Harvard PhDs in predicting the market.  Given that chimps work for bananas, one wonders if hedge fund managers really deserve those 8 figure salaries,  much less the bonuses.

Japan is different.  In Japan your PR and advertising “professionals” usually have degrees in economics or political science, which are just labels for four years of partying at Waseda and Keio. Not that the partying is useless --the Japanese are team workers.  The “wisdom of crowds”? Well,  the mob has a good idea.     
The Japanese do not quite reject the American cult of the “expert” – but that’s something generally confined to medicine or other technological fields. 

In “soft” fields – particularly PR,   people make it up as they go along.  I’ll go into more detail about this in subsequent posts.

Suffice it to say, I don’t l think that the Japanese are any better or worse than the Americans in terms of wasting advertising and PR money.

As a teaser for next time, let me say that  as far as “expertise” in PR and advertising, it is as much about “nature” as it is about “nurture”.

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