In 1759, British essayist Samuel Johnson wrote “The trade of advertising is now so near to perfection that it is not easy to propose any improvement.” More than 100 years later, in 1890, advertising was far from perfect, as Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker noted when he commented “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted.” Another 100 years later, I noted in my first book Adbashing: Surviving the Attacks on Advertising, “Marketers may be facing shifts in consumer and communications patterns for which there are no precedents and for which they are ill prepared. It is time to take a hard look at our approaches to marketing.” They didn’t, and in 2015 the advertising business is in chaos. Marketers, agencies and media content owners and distributors are confronting historic transformation as:
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