The Admap Lecture

Winston Fletcher, giving the inaugural Admap lecture in London last month, explained how advertising doesn't just benefit advertiser's and the media - it benefits the consumers too. Here is a summary of his speech

LAST YEAR over 13 billion was spent on advertising in Britain. Advertisers spend more, year after year, because they know it is profitable for them, and for the media, who receive most of the cash. But how about the public, the consumers, who buy most of the things the advertisers promote? How - if at all - do they benefit from this huge outlay?

The advertising business has long argued that advertising introduces new and improved products, stimulates price competition, is used for worthwhile causes, like charities and anti-drink-driving campaigns, and subsidises the media.

All of those benefits are real, but do not answer the core question: how does the consumer actually benefit from advertising? After all, advertisers willingly pay for brand advertising, so they must want it; consumers do not pay for it, so surely they cannot want it?