7 things we learned from Bob Hoffman this week

Earlier this week, Mumbrella made its way into the ThinkTV offices to interview San Francisco-based adland cynic Bob Hoffman. Here's seven of the most important things we learned during our chat with the infamous Ad Contrarian.

Good people make great things

How can we make advertising less annoying? Bob told us: “The first thing we have to do is to get better people working on it. You’re not going to get great advertising from mediocre people.”

Clickthrough rates are about as close to zero as you can get

“We have click rates for online advertising that are reported to be about six in 10,000, which is about as close to zero as you can get.”

Fake news is still a big problem

“We have teenagers putting up websites with fake news and attracting ad tech money and earning money just by using the system in bad ways. If we’re ever going to get back to the point at which we trust what the news media is telling us, we have to realise and appreciate that the advertising industry plays an important role in that and we need to start acting responsibly.”

Creativity is being devalued in the ad industry

“Wherever I go I hear the same two things. One, that advertising is not as effective as it used to be, and two, that advertising is not as creative as it used to be. It’s very hard for me to believe that these two things are not related.”

Customers don’t want to talk to brands online

The social media fantasy was that we were going to take this amazing worldwide thing called social media … We were going to turn that to our advantage by doing social media marketing. Consumers were going to want to go online and have ‘conversations’ with us about ‘brands’. They were going to ‘join the conversation’.

“And it was all a fantasy. It doesn’t exist.”

Online advertising has become about collecting information from consumers

“What online advertising has become is a hacking contest, and whoever can collect the most information wins, regardless of who knows what information is being collected.”

TV is having babies

“The narrative that has developed over 15 years about TV dying is so ridiculous and we keep hearing it regardless of the fact that TV isn’t dying, it’s having babies.”


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