Marrying Before You Date: The New Standard

The visual: a small mound of ashes with proportionally fitted angel wings is facing an attentive male angel. Both are standing upon a cloud.

The caption -- as spoken by the small mound of ashes with proportionally fitted angel wings: "If I had it to do over again I definitely wouldn't have been cremated."

In the last few weeks there has been a plethora of organizations announcing the creation and publication of "standards" for video formats and metrics. A major sampling (alphabetically):

Association for Downloadable Media
Digital Video Innovation Committee
Interactive Advertising Bureau
Mobile Marketing Association
Online Video Advertising ROI Council
Out of Home Video Advertising Bureau
I'm all for evolving televisual platforms (television, broadband, mobile): deployment, formats, metrics and efficacy. My concern is that we, as a well-intentioned community, spend too much time formalizing that which is still in its primordial testing phase. The perspiration that goes into the articulation of perceived value propositions could easily, in my opinion, be re-diverted to actual in-market trials where the participants share with its brethren the directional learnings.



Let's agree to outlaw the word "proprietary," which provides all distributors, technologists, researchers with an easy "out" when queried about results. Let's agree to make industry conclaves about learnings and trade knowledge instead of paid political announcements coupled with a heavy dose of conventional wisdom -- that which the convention is already familiar with.

Oftentimes I hear some sectors of the media community clamoring for the "less evolved" mediums to follow the online community's search and display example of standardization. If memory serves me well, the online community jumped on the notion of standardization after what it claimed 10 years of disunity impeded its members from enjoying deserving revenue generation from marketers. It had to contend with two physical issues: speed of delivery (dial-up and high speed as well as traffic control) and ad format sizing for sites. Their model and subsequent success did not involve legacy issues, such as set-top-box manufacturers or back-channel connectivity for interactivity, cross-media platforming translations, engagement prestidigitation, venue traffic, presence in zone and notice-ability.

A friend of mine related a story about an early culinary experience (circa 1925) between his newly matrimonied mom and dad. Soon after the honeymoon, one Friday night his mother was preparing a chicken dinner -- a weekly ritual in some households. As she set the dinner plate before her husband, tears were cascading down her cheeks. Concerned, his father asked why she was crying. She explained that she had burnt the chicken. Noticing the blackened fowl, he inwardly cringed but outwardly responded by taking her hands in his and explaining that very-well-done chicken was the way he preferred fowl to be cooked. For the next fifty years the family was served burnt chicken every Friday evening.

So I recommend that we implement the old standardization process: a couple of dates, a few dinners, a few home cooked meals -- hopefully not burnt chicken unless desirable, a movie or two, a sleepover -- if warranted, the survival of a weekend sojourn together, the three month and six month anniversary milestone celebrations, and then and only then, some formalization.

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