Back in 1988, he would boast to his friends how I had my own office at Young & Rubicam. It did not matter that I made $14,000 a year; I had an office to hang my belongings. One day he came to see me in it. He was a gym teacher, and I was thankful he wore long pants for the visit. He walked in with that smile and one of those paperweight desk signs, the kind with a slot to slide in a six-inch long black plate with engraved white letters. This one read "Young, Rubicam & Rosenberg."
My father had a big sense of humor, and thought the desk sign would be funny to put on display. I did not agree, and after he left, I put it inside my desk instead of on top of it. Later that year, I gave my Dad a copy of a three-by-five photo of me with four Sports Illustrated swimsuit models (the picture did not include the long line of media buyers waiting for their turn). My father returned for another visit to Y&R, this time with a poster-sized framed blow-up of that photo. We immediately hung it on the wall of the office he was so proud of.
Some days I look harder for him than others, and some days I am not nearly as conscious of my search. This was the case two Sundays ago, when I sat glued to a couch and a television to watch the final round of the British Open won by Tiger Woods.
Tiger was in complete command of himself, the course, and the moment. He snapped at a few fans who took photos, but that was the only time we heard from the often-vocal Woods. His silence said, "Shhh, something special is happening right now."
The final round concluded when Tiger tapped in a putt to secure his eleventh major championship--his first since the loss of his father. He then bent down to pick up his golf ball, and rose to full height as he clenched his fists. His eyes squinted as his mouth opened to allow a primal roar, soaked with gut-wrenching pain, leave his body. He then turned to his right as his body swelled with tears.
My own throat tightened, "Oh, my god," I said aloud and to myself, he is looking for his father. With millions watching, this young man had reached another professional milestone--and the realization that he would never find his father again. He collapsed into the arms of his caddy.
The video clips seen later that day on TV and on the Web delivered Tiger's best shots of the day, his tears, and edited versions of the hugs he gave his caddy, his wife, and his coach. However, what a video cannot redeliver is the moment. That ship has sailed; only those who caught it live could feel the wake of its intensity.
And that is why video content on the Web feels like hype. It is only video. Television provides advertisers access to living moments of sight, sound and emotion--and the Web does not. Of course, television offers access to videos and taped shows as well, but the rating blockbusters are events broadcast live.
Unless consumers start to tune in to the Internet to capture moments in their natural state, sight, sound and motion on the Web will continue to lack a level of magnetic attention live events project. The difference for advertisers is that moments captured live have our attention--while video must gain it.
Just over two-and-a-half years ago, I lost my biggest fan. Two Sundays ago, I felt his presence thanks to a television station that captured a live Tiger sharing his pain for all of us to feel.