Where Advertising Is Looking For You

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David Letterman is leaving television. So are advertising dollars. We'll look at the changes in TV and how today's industry tries to reach you.

David Letterman and Bill Murray wave from the side door of the Ed Sullivan Theater during the first episode of "Late Show with David Letterman" in New York. (Jim Cooper/AP)
David Letterman and Bill Murray wave from the side door of the Ed Sullivan Theater during the first episode of "Late Show with David Letterman" in New York. (Jim Cooper/AP)

Late night’s David Letterman takes his last bow tonight. He’s done. Leaving television. And there’s a bigger “end of an era” tingle in the air. A whole lot of advertisers are backing off television too. The long era of TV ad dominance that began in Mad Men times is definitely winding down. Television itself is fragmenting. People watch whatever, whenever, and blow past the ads. And digital, in its million forms, rises and rises. What’s it all mean for Don Draper-style selling and the way you’re stroked? This hour, On Point: after TV ads. And we’ll say goodbye to David Letterman.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Suzanne Vranica, Advertising Editor at The Wall Street Journal. (@VranicaWSJ)

Ashley Rodriguez, Retail, Financial Services and Insurance Reporter at Advertising Age. (@ashleyrreports)

David Droga, Founder of Droga5, a New York-based advertising agency. (@ddroga)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: In Advertising Battle, TV Fights Back Against the Web - "Marketers have been moving money, gradually but measurably, away from TV and into digital outlets that promise sophisticated ad targeting and the ability to reach audiences that are eschewing traditional television. Now, the TV empire is striking back. NBCUniversal, owner of channels including USA, Bravo and E!, along with Time Warner Inc.'s Broadcasting and other media companies are touting new tools that they say close the gap with the online players when it comes to data and analytics."

Advertising Age: Stung by Millennial Misses, Brands Retool for Gen Z - "Even as the cohort ages and evolves, marketers are still chasing the shadows of millennials' younger selves. Consider the plight of teen retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Aéropostale, which are struggling to revamp their merchandising and marketing approaches to better attract audiences that have already largely outgrown them. Plenty of advertisers, in fact, were caught off guard by the pace at which technology advanced culture."

Salon: David Letterman's brilliant vulnerability: He has always been "naked and afraid" behind that trademark smirk - "Over the course of his show — and in particular the second half of its run — Letterman has displayed a candor that would unimaginable coming from the likes of a bland audience panderer like Leno or Fallon. Letterman is the guy who took his journey through heart surgery and turned the experience into an unprecedented television event, culminating in bringing his medical team on the show to share the stage with him. He’s the one who gave an emotional, bold comeback monologue after 9/11, in which he called what happened in his city “desperately sad” and ended by making fun of Regis Philbin."

Saying Goodbye to David Letterman

Robert Thompson, Professor and Director of Syracuse University's Center for Television and Popular Culture at the Newhouse School of Communication.

This program aired on May 20, 2015.


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