There truly has never been a better time to be in this business.
After what seems like years of anxious waiting, our Agency is in the midst of a remarkable transformation in what will soon seem to have occurred “in the blink of an eye.” At last, the components of change–so long on the distant horizon–are within the grasp of day-to-day marketers.
You know all the buzz words: Web 2.0, Social Networks, Blogs, Podcasts, Mobile Advertising, RSS. Funny, “interactive,” “digital,” and “internet” are becoming “old school” terms in the same manner as “electronic,” “transistor,” and “solid-state” did a couple of decades ago.
The casual observer could be excused for wondering what this means for the continued viability of this business of advertising and marketing. “Surely ‘the ad biz’ will shortly fade into the sunset, as with blacksmiths and buggy-whip manufacturers of the 1900’s.”
I remember being amused by a “brand consultant” who said to me with feigned sincerity, “You must be really scared about the future for your business.” It was the early ’90’s and desktop publishing (remember THAT term?) was coming into its own and, “why, with all the fonts and clip art and stuff,” surely we’d be on the ash-heap in no time.
“Now anyone can do it,” she said.
I was wittier in those days, and without a pause I reminded her that “The pencil has existed for thousands of years, right.” She agreed. I grinned.
“Has that made everyone an artist? Or a writer?”
Of course it didn’t. Likewise, new and exciting communication channels will never lessen the need for ideas regarding effective consumer contact and persuasion.
In fact, my bet is the opportunities will be multiplied. Because “when the stone is carved, the ink is dry, the transmission is complete, or the file is downloaded”–in short no matter the delivery method–the IDEA is what will matter most.
Two great descriptions of this business will endure all methods of content delivery. The first, from Fairfax Cone (look him up on Wiki, for goodness sakes!): “Advertising is what you do when you can’t go see somebody. It’s as simple as that.”
The second is from John E. Kennedy (not a typo) and adopted by Albert Lasker: “Advertising is Salemanship in Print.”
Okay, the “print” part IS a bit dated…but you get the point.
In the 1920s, a company called Burma Shave — producers of brushless shaving cream — started putting signs up that delighted and educated drivers. These