Our president keeps us entertained/shocked with an ongoing stream of tweets, squabbles and executive orders. All of us -- including his own staff, it seems -- are hanging on by the seat of our pants just to keep up-to-date.
Occasionally, we do hear the big stories from other nations, but they are almost always in the context of our president. It is all-consuming, and nonstop.
Even here on MediaPost, we are treated/bombarded with a daily deluge about Trump-related stuff.
So perhaps Dave Morgan can be forgiven when he went on a trip to Europe, attended a TV conference and found that the U.S. is not the front-runner he perhaps thought we were in the area of reinventing TV (see his enlightening column here.)
I am not trying to pick on Dave, as he provides a great summary of some of the initiatives underway, and he gives them due props.
I have been straddling the European and North American continents for most of my professional and personal life, and I have always had the benefit of exposure to both.
Let’s not forget: the U.S. has had advertising in general, including commercial TV advertising, far longer than most other nations on the planet. In fact, the U.S. has never NOT had commercial TV — it always was commercial.
Most of Europe has had commercial TV since the 1960s to late 1980s (in The Netherlands and parts of former Soviet Eastern Europe, for instance).
That’s right. What you consider to be “normal” is still a relatively young phenomenon in many European countries (as well as parts of Asia).
At the same time, most other countries have always looked to the U.S. as an example of how it’s done. This is true for how to mass-produce cars (Henry Ford) to how to “do” coffee (Starbucks) to how to produce and sell TV ads (from P&G’s very first soap operas).
But you can’t blame “Johnny Foreigner” to sometimes look at their shining example and think there might be a better way. This is true for how to build better mass-produced cars (most German, Swedish and Japanese cars) or how to “do” fast food (compare a McDonald’s in the U.K. or Japan vs. the U.S.) or even how to produce and sell TV (per Dave Morgan’s discovery tour).
I know I am using terribly unimaginative examples here. But for many in our industry here in the U.S., there is much to learn from our colleagues across the pond or across the Pacific.
Europe has a long tradition of collaborative efforts that, despite some recent nationalistic rhetoric, is still working quite well. All commercial TV and radio sales organizations typically work together in a national organization to promote, research, defend and innovate TV and radio ad sales. And most of these national organizations work together on a pan-regional level in EGTA, the European Association for TV and Radio Sales Houses.
The reality is that collaboration and shared interests delivers more fuel for innovation than trying to go it alone. I know, right -- that’s darn near socialism!