Congress weighs in on advertising again. Clumsily, again. In a new post on Adage.com, Nat Ives & Rich Thomaselli detail new efforts from Congress that attempt to either strip tax benefits of DTC pharma ads, or add heavier guidelines in several online and offline connection points. The main takeaway is that there’s NO ORGANIZED APPROACH to what Congress is doing, making it less and less clear as to why they’re enacting all this “stuff” in the first place. If it’s about consumer protection, they should say so. If it’s about fiscal concerns, say so. But as you read this story, it’s clear: there’s no rhyme or reason.
What the government needs right now (aside from a vacation and a valium,) is a stronger messaging strategy. When you’re talking about tens of millions of jobs, hundreds of billions of locally generated (and taxable) dollars, and badly-needed trillions churned in the domestic economy, you had better be on point. And these new reports of heavier-than-usual-legislation-in-a-recessed-economy-trying-to-pull-itself-by-the-bootstraps do not produce a juicy tagline whatsoever.
On this blog, we’ve already discussed how Congress is adversely affecting the consumer in the process of all of this. Ad targeting (online or offline) helps put marketing in context, and makes it less “noisy” for the consumer. Putting these opt-ins and opt-outs and “are-you-sure?” buffers in between consumers and ad messages isn’t just messy, but it may ultimately cost the country billions in lost revenue. See the post below: Check Your Privacy – On the Floor.
This latest wave of government bureacracy is fueling the stereotype of Democratic government – we look wasteful and petty in the face of a tidal wive of really important agenda items. The marketing community could be HELPING the cause right now in a big way by doing what it does best: keeping the conversation on point, filtering out the noise and making a lot of this easier for American consumers to understand. But every day Congress flings another dart in the agency world’s direction, they’re – we’re – going to be less and less inclined to do so.
Brilliant concept on paper. But what’s the government to do? How will taxpayers be convinced that there should be a line item in the budget for an advertising or marketing experts to “sell up” our elected officials decisions? Didn’t we elect them to be leaders and don’t we demand that leaders be good communicators to begin with? Now I see why political pundits and their fans go on and on about this stuff. I typically stay out of it – happy to be living in a country that’s a bit messy (kinda like my kids’ bedrooms most of the time) but better than anywhere else. But if you can figure out a way to solve this paradox, you’ve got my vote 🙂 – Jonathan Flaks http://www.yourproductivitypro.com