The birth of a brand is achieved with publicity, not advertising.

Most of America’s 15,000 advertising agencies are committed to the concept of building a brand with advertising.

“The fundamental thing we’re all about is building brand leaders,” said the chief executive of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles recently. “The way to do that is to have a superior understanding of the consumer, which leads to better, fresher, more powerful creative work that ultimately builds brands.”

Building brand leaders with better, fresher creative work? We think not. Most marketers confuse brand building with brand maintenance. While a hefty advertising budget might be needed to maintain high-flying brands like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, advertising ...

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