The beginning of “merger mania” in the early 1980s saw most major US agencies merge with one another as well as foreign agencies entering the US market. The impact on the creative was that of departmentalizing accounts (to keep clients that may be in the same product category, offices were designated as handling one or the other but never both so as not to compromise the security of the client’s work) and adding an international flavor to the creative.
The 1980s were also a time of conservatism with the election of Ronald Reagan and the reaffirmation of family and country. It was also the age of the infomercial that was made possible in 1984 when the FCC rescinded regulations limiting advertising to 16 minutes per house. An infomercial was a long advertisement that looked like a talk show or demo and initially aired in late night slots with small audience. They later spread to other time slots with larger audiences and created new ethical issues due to the fact that they appeared to be news programming verses paid advertising.
Today the era of ad-supported television programming is over and there is a need for advertisers to reinvent the process to fit the new ways of reaching audience members. With VCRs, TiVo and cable systems the viewer has the option of deleting advertising messages. Viewers are also able to utilize cable systems for on-line services such as shopping on either TV or the net. Changes in advertising will effect the way in which it is prepared and delivered to target audiences (interactively) and major advertisers are participating in integrated programming to better control the content of new media where viewers can interact with programming to get further information.
Other changes include a change in the concept of power in the distribution channel with mega retailers such as Wal-Mart gaining power away from the manufacturers. Value pricing is attractive to customers and retailers are now wresting power from the manufacturers who have a difficult time getting consumers to demand their products when the retailer has the power base. Private label brands are also developing to compete with national brands and offer lower prices.