In early February, I was disillusioned.
As part of my project to write a manifesto of sorts about what content marketing is, and how it's different from advertising, I read, and re-read, two short paragraphs I wrote ages ago, not quite happy with them but unable to revise them, unable to add more.
At its worst, marketing and advertising create in people the desire to buy products and services that they don’t actually need. Preying on weaknesses and insecurities.
At its best, marketing makes people’s lives easier. It tells people what products, services, and information are out there to help them achieve more and do better.
As I wrangled over concepts and thoughts, agonizing to find the right words, and fully empathizing with Prufock (not to bring Saussure and Lacan into the equation) – because it really is impossible to say just what I mean – I was shaken out of my torpor by our Creative Director and one of the Junior Art Directors.
Our discussion meandered, and eventually ended up on the marketing vs. advertising debate. I took pages and pages of notes, but they're irrelevant because our Creative Director encapsulated it with perfect simplicity:
Marketing :: advertising
Engineering :: architecture
So though I haven't yet finished my manifesto on content marketing, I was able to add a sentence to my musings:
As for advertising? At its best, it's pure art and aesthetics, with the association to the brand feeling almost incidental.