What if we don’t need advertising at all?
Doc Searls

Doc, you assume that 1) we’re aware of everything we need, and 2) we can express that desire one way or another, and 3) we’re willing to invest time choosing among all options that address that inent. This is not the case in so many instances:

  • we don’t know that we need products that offer entirely new benefits (eg.: the iPad, etc.)
  • we can’t express desire (at scale) for products that we’d like to have but we think don’t and won’t exist (eg. toilet cleaners that require no human intervention, wireless recharging…)
  • we don’t know that there are products that offer a better way to solve an old problem: eg., people buy the hole, not the drill, but they’ve been trained to search for the drill; a new hole-making laser will need to find its customers
  • there are benefits or experiences that we need, but wouldn’t think to associate with a product (eg. were we asking for new stories about Christmas, before John Lewis in the UK built a fortune on that?)
  • there are intents who are met by so many competing options: advertising serves as a cognitive shortcut providing our brain with 2–3 brands to think at first, and that make our choice easier.

When it comes to human beings, intent doesn’t collect the whole amount of decisions we make. And even when it does, it’s not enough for us to make a choice, based on the time, expertise and effort that we allocate to it.

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