Is advertising experiencing an identity crisis? Part II

Why native advertising is not the solution

Is advertising experiencing an identity crisis? Part II

We already presented Part One of the interview with communications and media scholar Markus Feiks. In the second part, he tells us why native advertising – in his opinion – is not the right way out of the identity crisis:


Why is native advertising not the solution?

“Counter question: Would you still trust a person if it turned out that this person had communicated with you under false pretenses, or if it turned out that your “relationship” was essentially based on lies? Probably not. But this is what happens with native advertising and all forms of advertising that are not marked as such or are very difficult to recognize as such. With native advertising, the breach of trust is to a certain extent already built-in. It’s only a matter of time until it comes to that. The media are also putting their credibility on the line – a credibility that was already seriously endangered to begin with. Native advertising may work in the short term, but only until the disappointed recipient realizes that they have been duped.”


Is advertising still up-to-date?

“Yes and no. Advertising is up-to-date because it is part of our current economic form, but also because there are lots of offers, such as apps or newspapers, that are financed through advertising. On the other hand, advertising has outlived itself because the means it currently employs don’t generate attention but annoyance with advertising instead. And yet there are certainly forms of advertising that manage to integrate into society in positive ways. Forms that, if you want to go so far, even make a positive contribution to society. I’m thinking of the Domino’s Pizza campaign in the US, for instance, or Budni “TweetWave.”

Postmodern advertising doesn’t jump out, screaming at you, from around the corner. Instead, it’s a part of your neighborhood, greeting you nicely and inviting you to drop by for a beer. So it makes an offer without intruding. After all, everyone knows that advertising exists, and I think many might not necessarily have a problem with advertising if they could freely decide whether they want to see advertising or not. Advertising that is viewed and shared voluntarily is sustainable and successful in the long term.”

What does a meaningful future for advertising look like?

“Advertising has to make a U-turn: at the moment, it’s gone into hiding in hopes of going unrecognized. After all the years of high-frequency advertising penetration, this is probably a necessary step if it is to have a chance to make itself heard at all. In the long run, however, this leads to a trend to come up with increasingly perfidious ways of going unrecognized. And it’s not much help to simply speak of “communication” rather than “advertising.” So the crucial aspect is to behave differently. So what’s a person to do? The advertising industry has to begin integrating itself as advertising. In other words: advertising has to advertise for advertising. This is going to take time, it’s going to cost something, but it’s the only way to rehabilitate advertising as a communication form in the long run. So it has to become more trustworthy. If the industry continues on the way it’s done up until now, 20 years from now there may be no such thing as advertising any more. Which some people would probably enjoy.”