The Week: Best of the blogs - Five advertising myths

1. Consumer behaviour is difficult to understand

In fact, about 90 per cent of consumer behaviour is obvious. They buy stuff because it tastes better, looks nicer, is more convenient, or costs less. Marketers and ad agencies like to pretend they don't know this and focus on the 10 per cent of consumer behaviour that is mysterious.

2. Mass marketing is dead

Tell that to Wal-Mart and McDonald's. This nonsense is being perpetrated by new age marketing gurus who need something new to sell. If they tell the truth (marketing is what it's always been, plus search), they're out of business.

3. The purpose of advertising is to change consumer attitudes

Wrong. The purpose is to change consumer behaviour. The fact they think highly of your brand is lovely. But until they buy it, you haven't done a thing.

4. The future of advertising is online

No-one knows what the future of advertising is. But I do know what the current status is, and it ain't online. The only online advertising methodologies that have proven to be consistently effective are search and e-mail. The rest is all talk, ideology and wishful thinking.

5. Consumers want to have conversations with brands

I'm a member of several online social communities and here's what we do: we waste as much time as is legally permissible talking about the stupidest stuff we can think of. The one thing we absolutely never do is the one thing the social media maniacs think we do - have conversations about brands.