Advertising is the word

For a business built around vocabulary, advertising is beginning to struggle with its own semantics. We seem to be saddled with the cumbersome ‘marketing communications’ to embrace the expanded suite of ways in which paid communications can impact consumers and other target audiences. It really started with direct marketing and sales promotion, which demonstrably weren’t advertising, in that they weren’t delivered via the traditional media. And PR which was, but on an earned, not paid basis.

Now there are so many more activity areas: sponsorship, digital, content, events, guerrilla, buzz, social and so on. Is ‘Marketing Communications’ the correct cover-all. Or can we make a case for using the word ‘Advertising’ – albeit in an expanded and differentiated context. That’s what the late great Steve Jobs thought. He reckoned that anything the brand did was advertising.

If you are promoting a brand, an organisation or a cause, that’s advertising in a real sense. The collateral vocabulary supports that view. We are admen or adwomen, working in adland, making ads – not adverts please. We have paid our admission fees. We are addicted to our way of life. We are fuelled by adrenalin. It all adds up.