Einstein's Corner: The Three Phases of Language -- Synthesis

Phase III language is the language of motivation and selling. It should be where the Phase I language of intimacy and the Phase II language of learning come together. But the marketing and advertising industries are currently truncated, mired in the growing inertia of Phase II.

Our reliance on and fealty to our own communications technologies prevent us from expending the requisite effort to synthesize our language, and come at the further expense of the already orphaned creative culture. We're far too consumed with the minutiae of getting there to imagine where we're going in the first place. What we say now takes a backseat to how quickly and frequently we can say it.

The inertia that surrounds our industry is very much a byproduct of our obsession with it. Inertia surrounds and shields our addictions like a protective carapace, and is why obsessive compulsive behavior patterns are so tough to bust. The digital age mantra of faster smarter better simply becomes a faster smarter better rationale for the same old same old.

The most self-consumed industry of all nowadays, the one most immersed in its own inertia, is the media industry. The folks perhaps least capable of recovery, perhaps least capable of evolving Phase III language, are the selfsame folks who need it most: the scions of advertising and marketing.

Advertisers beware. Be careful what you ask for. Your manic quest for ever-faster, ever-smarter, ever-better will generate little more than less, little more than DROI - diminished return on investment. Your agencies are rapidly losing their ability to fashion Phase III language, the language that defines your brand. They can only deliver a diminished brand message. In the end, faster smarter better is neither smarter nor better. Only faster.

Of course, faster smarter better wouldn't be so bad were it not for the fact that consumers are also faster, smarter, and better at avoiding advertising. It's quite possible that P&G now delivers 2 billion daily ad impressions because consumers have discovered how to avoid, block, or skip past the first 1,999,999,999.

But if advertisers want someone -- anyone -- to stick around for the delivery of their ads, they might want to insist upon and institutionalize the only compelling component of good advertising: good creative. That initiative can only come from the client side now that almost all of the rogue creative cultures driven by rogue creative people are gone, devoured whole by the major media holding groups. The agency community at large is far too reactive to help itself, far too addicted to its own Kool Aid to emerge with any measure of sobriety without some sort of massive intervention.

No such Phase III initiative can occur, however, unless and until clients make room for it between their own ears. The agencies will follow, as always.

What do you think?

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