The famous merchant John Wanamaker (b-1839 – d-1922) is credited with saying, “I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half.”

I’m sure he meant what he said over 100 years ago, but I’d bet if he was living today, he’d certainly would not be wasting 50 cents on the dollar with his ad campaigns with the various ways you can prove the impact of marketing investments.

The sad thing about Wanamaker’s quote is that marketers today continue to use it and hide behind it. See my Super Bowl Ad Blog rant from yesterday.

Speaking of quotes, I’d like to quote some troubling facts about the crisis in mass marketing per the book – Connected marketing: the viral buzz and word of mouth revolution edited by Justin Kirby and Paul Marsden — Oxford : Butterworth-Heinemann, 2006.

Here are just a handful…

  • 3000 Ads Reach People Daily
  • 256% Increase in TV Ad costs (CPM) over 10 Years
  • 117 of ‘02 Prime TV Spots = 80% of Adults – 3 in ‘65
  • 100% Increase Needed in Ad Spend to Add 1-2% in Sales
  • 84% of B2B Ad Campaigns  = Negative ROI
  • 54 cents = Ave. Return in Sales per $1.00 spent on Ads
  • 18% TV Ad Campaigns =  Positive ROI

And, here’s a few more…

  • 90% – People Who Can Skip TV Ads Do
  • 80% – DVRs w/Ad Skipping Tech 2008
  • 69% – Interested in Skip/Block Ad Tech
  • 95% – Failure Rate for New Product Intros
  • 65% – Are Bombarded w/Ads
  • 56% – Avoid Brands Who Over Promote
  • 14% – Trust Advertising

The book was published in 2006 and most likely researched and written over the prior few years making the data at least six years old.

So, do you think any Super Bowl ad last Sunday returned a profit on its $3 million dollar investment? If so, do you think they can prove it?

Now, can you see why these Super Bowl ads offend me as a marketing professional?