Weak Creative? Weak Interest.

Rance Crain, editor in chief of AdAge, is usually a pretty savvy guy. But in an editorial this week he really missed the mark. The editorial was titled "The Mass Market is Not Dead. Weak Creative is the Problem."

The reason advertising is less effective these days is because of weak creative? That's like claiming that the reason the stalker can't get dates is because he wears an unfashionable trench coat.

Sure, good ad creative is always better than bad ad creative. But in reality, this only matters on the margins. The reason advertising is a less effective way to win the hearts (and pocketbooks) of customers than it once was is due more to the way customers think than it does with the way ad agencies create.

Customers don't react kindly to interruption-based marketing as they once did. They look beyond promises and scrutinize all interactions with a company and its products. If the entire set of experiences blends to tell a great story, customers will be more interested. And, at that point, great ad creative can make an (incremental) difference.

Advertising is not the center of the marketing universe, Rance. Customers are.