I don’t know which is sillier. The general public who believe that advertising can convince people to buy things they don’t need, or advertisers who endlessly search for the magic message to drive more demand for the things they’re selling.

Each somehow believes that ads condition people to consume.

They’re both wrong.

Advertising doesn’t do that. Life does.

What’s the single biggest reason that a shopper will buy barbecue sauce?

Running out of barbecue sauce.

Advertising will never convince someone who hates barbecue to love it. It can, however help someone in a grocery store to notice your bottle and say “Hey… I’ve been hearing about this. I think I’ll try it.

Which means no matter how many gross ratings points you purchase this week, only a small percentage of barbecue lovers will also be purchasing this week. Your mission is to make ’em think of your brand the next time they go shopping.

Side note: both groups of silly people (general public and uninformed advertisers) believe advertising works, but only on other people. Never on them.