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I love to say at my speaking engagements “There is no integrity in advertising.” I know how to really get marketers and advertising people off side.

My point is though that it is the people within an organisation that are the greatest ‘marketing tool’ that you have. Your people, suppliers and distributors and customers are your greatest media.

If you pay for advertising to tell people that you’re the greatest brand on the planet and then when they contact your organisation – or go to your web site and that is not what they experience…then simply you are worse off than you were before.

How much does Nike spend on advertising – enough to run a small country. Yet when I go in store and am met with a part time under 18 sales assistant who, in no way understands the Nike product nor why it is what it is my brand experience is not reinforced. Hence wasted advertising dollars. Let’s spend more of our marketing budgets on harnessing our greatest media – our people.

Give me some of examples of why advertising has no integrity.

Reader Interactions


  1. To suggesst that Nike are wasting their advertsing budget is a streach too far, clearly the company has been built on their advertising and marketing expertise. Let’s face it trainers are nothing special the reason they sell millions of them is becasue of their advertising and marketing campaigns. So unless you can build a bigger compnay than NIKE with your own ideas then I’m afraid critising their advertising and marketing is just not justified. I guess its a case of an incompetant mino trying to grab attention by making outrageous statements.

  2. People build brands – not advertising. Advertising builds awareness. it is people that deliver on the promise. Why did Nike create Nike stores – for exactly this reason – to attempt to control the customer experience.

    And by the way John if you have not noticed – it is not ‘size’ which make something ‘successful’. Did you miss Seth Godin’s "Small is the New Big".

  3. Hi Naomi, I’m in advertising and I take no offence to ‘there is no integrity in advertising’. You can’t help what you love!

    Example of why advertising has no integrity… the brief that you are given to create an ad campaign is an idea, and the best advertising comes out of ignoring all the outside noise (including PR about dumping oil in small towns etc.).

    You’re right about the brand experience needing to continue past the advertising. Companies like Telstra just grow so fast that they don’t slow down and tackle the little niceties. An example of a complete brand experience is dealing with Westpac (and no I don’t work for them :). Their quality advertising and ‘friendly/personal’ brand message continues to every phone conversation I’ve ever had with one of their call-centre employees. I don’t know if they’re paying their people $1 more than the industry average, but it’s kept me banking with them that’s for sure. Therefore, the advertising is not wasted, it’s just half done if it is not followed by good service.

    And John, if you’re going to call someone incompetent, spell it correctly. Irony anyone?!

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