Incisive: Rory Sutherland delivers life lessons from an ad man to TED

Advertising industry veteran, Rory Sutherland

I don’t know how I missed this – it’s over a year old now – but just in case you did too, I thought I’d highlight it. The video below is a talk the advertising industry veteran Rory Sutherland delivered at TED Global in 2009.

In it, he argues that advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. He makes the assertion – which I wholeheartedly agree with – that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider real value — and his conclusion has interesting consequences for how we look at life.

You should definitely watch the whole video – it’s 20 minutes you’ll enjoy thoroughly – but here are some highlights:

What we create in advertising – intangible value – gets rather a bad rap. It’s a very fine substitute for using up limited resources in the creation of things.

Once you reach a basic level of wealth in society, most problems are problems of perception.

How many problems of life can be solved by tinkering with perception, rather than that tedious, hard-working and messy business of actually trying to change reality?

All value is subjective and persuasion is often better than compulsion.

Example of contextual value: Pernod, it tastes great within the borders of France but absolute shite if you take it anywhere else.

Marketing has done a great job of creating opportunities for impulse buying but not impulse saving. Now, obviously, I don’t want people to do this. As an advertising man, I tend to regard saving as consumerism needlessly postponed.

We need to spend more time appreciating what already exists and less time agonising over what else we could do.



What's your take?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: