A World Without Ads (as we know them) 

This month’s issue explores the Future of Advertising. Brands have to provide more useful and interesting engagements with their consumers. Marketers must first learn how to bring value to an emerging community before flooding it with ad experiences that will be ignored – or worse.

February 6, 2020

Welcome to the February 2020 issue of Signal360! One of P&G’s focus areas is the reinvention of advertising. As the world’s largest advertiser with a long history of innovation in the field, P&G’s commitment to rethinking advertising has a significant impact on the industry.

During his recent keynote at CES this January, P&G’s Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard declared, “I would say the days of advertising as we know it today are numbered, and we need to start thinking about a world with no ads.” Such a world seems hard to imagine.  But if we are committed to constructive disruption, we must apply it to our core – and certainly, marketing is core to companies like P&G.

This month’s issue explores the future of advertising: a world where brands provide more useful and interesting engagement with consumers. No doubt, in that future world, there will still be commercial communication, but ads as we know them are evolving into something new. Advertising can drive consumer experiences that provide value as entertainment, service, or utility.

The recent interactive P&G Superbowl TV ad, created with the involvement of thousands of people, is a great example of entertaining experiences. The world of gaming and e-sports is another place where brands can engage with people in new and interesting ways. Gamers are finicky, and they ignore companies that don’t show an understanding of gaming culture. Marketers must first learn how to bring value to an emerging community before flooding it with ad experiences that will be ignored – or worse.

The Future of Advertising is also about consumer data, privacy, and creating safe environments. Consumers have come to understand the value and risks of sharing their data, and  advertisers have also recognized their role and responsibility in making the internet safe. There’s no doubt that data will remain an essential fuel for brands to create superior consumer experiences. However, how data is collected must evolve. As we report, a recently-announced industry coalition is focused on eliminating harmful online content, and cutting off ad funding for bad actors. This is an important step – a milestone – but there is much work to do.

Lastly, the Future of Advertising holds many opportunities for a new generation of creatives. This is especially true for talented people who only now have access to tools and technology to create and distribute content. Bringing in new talent and voices doesn’t happen by itself, and companies like P&G must ensure that such opportunities become reality.

Predicting the future is hard, but as Peter Drucker said, the best way to get there is to create it. The journey ahead will certainly be worth the ride. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration in this Signal360 issue to start yours. Enjoy!

Stan Joosten & John Battelle

Editors-In-Chief, Signal360 / Co-founders, Signal P&G