Google’s John Merrifield: advertising is the price companies pay for being unoriginal

John MerrifieldThe only people who care about advertising are ad people, Google Asia’s creative chief said at an ad congress today.

Talking to delegates at the AdAsia event in Hanoi, John Merrifield, chief creative officer of Google Asia Pacific, also said that advertising is the price companies pay for being unoriginal.

He said: “No one cares about advertising. Nobody is sitting there waiting for advertising. The only people who care about advertising are those in the advertising business, and brand loyalty is largely a myth.”

“Advertising is the price companies pay for being unoriginal. When Apple launches a new product, does it advertise? No, it does not. It feeds off all the hype that leads up to the launch,”  said Merrifield, who joined Google after a long career in advertising, latterly with TBWA.

Merrifield also suggested that the ad industry is slow to change.

“In September, Google turned 15 years old. In that time the company has continually undergone radical structural changes. But in the time since Mad Men, the 1950’s, advertising agencies are only 10 per cent different to how they are now.”

But there are “seismic changes” on the horizon for the ad world, he said.

“The Omnicom Publicis merger was the final nail in the coffin for the way things were. I don’t think we will see a merger that big again. The future belongs to the swift and nimble,” Merrifield said.

He also said that ad agencies needed to embrace digital more whole heartedly.

“If you’re still only dipping into the digital pool, your business probably won’t survive the next three to five years,” Merrifield said.


  1. Gee John
    12 Nov 13
    6:59 pm

  2. So tell us something we don’t know. One of the most uninspired pieces of self-indulgence I’ve heard for a long time

  3. Really John?
    13 Nov 13
    8:32 am

  4. Rubbishing agencies and rolling old old chestnuts on how digital is the silver bullet is an old song,we’ve all heard before.
    Since assuming the new role at Google, i would have expected a more convincing argument for digital, backed with compelling case studies and just maybe examples of creative collaboration Google has had with agencies (i.e. your supply chain customers) and clients (your final customers).
    Knocking either pools of customers with ‘chicken little’ cries the the ‘sky is falling’ is unworthy of a giant like Google.

  5. Seriously?
    13 Nov 13
    5:37 pm

  6. Weird. I could have sworn I saw ads for the new iPhone (which last time I checked was an Apple product) plastered all over London’s tube system.

    I must have been dreaming – because apparently Apple don’t advertise.

  7. errrrmmm
    14 Nov 13
    2:15 pm

  8. You’d think that someone who’d previously worked at the agency who has held the Apple account for many years would know whether they advertise or not, right?

    Hot Air! –

  9. You'd think
    15 Nov 13
    1:11 pm

  10. With John’s vast background in advertisng why have O&M India just shot an ad for google?

  11. Neil
    19 Nov 13
    2:13 pm

  12. Just saw a heap of bus shelter ads in Melbourne for Apple… and we are Google’s agency in India…. just saying!

  13. roberto
    17 May 16
    10:04 pm

  14. that quote is by Yves Behar.

  15. Jeff
    18 May 16
    1:48 pm

  16. What does this guy actually do at Google? Besides going to judge advertising award shows and going around slagging off ad agencies?

    I am on the interwebz every hour of the day and Ive seen nothing.


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