What on earth is Scott Galloway going on about?

Galloway goes on a rant, but are his points valid?

Scott Galloway is a very smart man. He's a professor at NYU Stern (a prestigious American business school) and a well-respected marketing thought leader (he fills auditoriums and sells a lot of books), but some of the stuff that he has apparently being saying recently is plainly...just not true.

At a conference in Australia recently, Galloway made some interesting statements about the future of the CMO. Some of his points are valid; CMOs should certainly make a more impactful contribution by 'leading a company's innovation drive'. Totally agree with that one. The CMO role has definitely changed over the last decade or so - we're written about some aspects of this changes numerous times.

However, he goes on...and here's where Prof Galloway pushes a point that is simply not true.

“Show me a company that has had more than a $100 billion market cap in the last decade and I’ll show you a company that probably doesn’t advertise very much." - Scott Galloway

The company that he uses to illustrate this point....Apple.

According to Scott Galloway Apple is a good example of a brand that has 'made it' by not 'falling into the trap of advertising itself'!

Maybe we live in an alternate universe to Scott Galloway, but we could have sworn that Apple just spent US$60 million on sponsoring the Halftime Show during the Super Bowl a week ago?

It may just be our vivid imagination, but didn't we just see ad after ad after ad from Apple - promoting the launch of their new Vision Pro product?

Yeah that's right - according to Scott Galloway, Apple is a stunning example of a brand that 'leaves the promotion of their products up to the in-built innovation of the product itself'. No hype or advertising needed.

Amazon spends over $20billion a year on advertising; Google's ad spend is increasing every year - it's now sitting at around $4.3billion annually. Even Tesla (who prides itself on doing the exact opposite of what everyone usually does and is most probably a dedicated listener to Scott Galloway's podcasts) is starting to realise that they need to do some advertising The exact media mix that these companies use will most certainly be a lot different to a medium-sized company based in Cape Town, but the point is that there is most certainly a place for traditional and non-traditional forms of advertising that is a vital tool for all brands.

There Scott...there are a few modern, innovative, American companies that are rather successful and also think that a spot of advertising is well worth the money and effort.

He goes on...

“How do you know your life hasn’t worked out? You’re watching a lot of advertising. Advertising has become a tax on the poor and the technologically illiterate." - Scott Galloway
Here's an image of people whose lives haven't worked out right.

What is this guy talking about?

Is he saying that rich people can afford YouTube Premium without ads and the rest (the poor that can't afford it, or couldn't be bothered to subscribe) need to endure pre-roll hell from now until eternity?

Research and a ton of evidence does not support Galloway's position on advertising here at all [see work from Les Binet and Peter Field, Mark Ronson, Byron Sharp etc etc]. Advertising is still incredibly effective in brand promotion and maintenance - in fact, one might argue more so than ever before. Statements like this - given by people like Galloway - are misleading and frankly dangerous if just taken at face value and not interrogated further.

If you want your brand to outperform your category - give us a shout.

The point is - just be careful of what information (that also might be published completely out of context) you blindly take of board from people who are seemingly knowledgable. It might sound plausible in the moment, but could create an assumption in your mind that's simply not based on facts.

Apple are great at innovating new remarkable products and services and they are great at advertising those products while spending an enormous amount of money to do so. They make use of a brilliant DTC strategy (that is a part of their marketing mix), digital channels as well as more traditional routes to build and maintain their brand presence. Advertising works equally well for people without a phd in marketing as it does for individuals with advanced levels of education. In 18 months from now there will still be many marketers who keep their jobs and thrive in the position just by going to fancy conferences and signing off big annual marketing budgets that get executed by overworked and underpaid agencies.

Yes - marketing is indeed going through a transformation, but some of the points being made my many thought leaders in response are either not true / misleading / or dangerously over-simplified.

Further reading:

“You’re Dead In 18 Months Or Less”: Scott Galloway On The Future Of CMOs
Marketing professor Scott Galloway told adland that CMOs were not long for this world if they continued to focus on advertising.