Meet John. He's a prominent blogger who has been toiling away in the tech sector for more than 20 years now. Remarkably, the history of his blog closely mirrors the history of the "blogosphere." John has agreed to publish a selection of his blog posts below, interspersed with comments. Consider it a blog cheat sheet. If anyone asks you to explain the origins of blogs and what's in store for the future, just hand them this article.
The oldest nonlinear medium is the Talmud. Its format acknowledges diverse perspectives. Linear media present a single-minded point of view. Modern mass-market advertising follows this paradigm, making a single-minded point to a mythical single-minded consumer. Segmented marketing employs targeted media to deliver diverse advertising messages to an array of consumer targets, each of which may have a unique intended outcome. Back to the future!
What if TV as we know it didn't exist? I'm not kidding. What if the entire digital world had been developed before Sherwood Schwartz dreamed up "Gilligan's Island"? Think outside of the box, beyond the existing structure. First, there would be no such thing as local affiliates. They used to have a purpose -- terrestrial distribution -- but today they really do nothing more than provide station signals to a few non-cable/satellite holdouts and deliver local news.
Advertising? News? Media? Content? No, thanks. Not here on the frontier. And me? Heck, I'm just a 50-year-old struggling to get my two devices down to one. But in a decade, today's twentysomethings will rule the world, and believe me, it will be a leap beyond the linear to a world where marketing may well have gone the way of the buffalo.
Want to see the future? Check out a media agency executive's business card. That's where you'll often find, condensed into an infobyte, how completely technology has trumped tradition and nonlinear media have transformed buying and planning. Carat has an "engagement architect." Euro RSCG has a "creative director of media." Agencies that have bundled and unbundled media employ small armies of people with "insight" and "contact" in their titles. There are psychologists and ethnographers on staff. Now the usual creatives, modelers, economists, and plain old media planners are likely to rub shoulders with "consumer context planners," "communications planners," and other …
"People are inherently lazy." "People have always done it this way. They just won't change overnight." "You're a member of the technorati -- you don't speak for the typical consumer."
Okay, so it's the 9th. The column's due on the 16th. I've got a pitch on the 17th. Better get started. Must remember to pay my bills on the 15th. It's a Sunday. Wonder if I'll have to work that day? Okay. Nonlinear. I could murder a cup of coffee. The French eat lots of butter and they don't get fat and don't have an unusually high incidence of heart disease. I'm sure that if you provide your body with fat regularly enough it won't store it unnecessarily. Screw the skim milk. It never tastes right in café au lait …
No one wants to talk about multiculturalism because it often takes us outside of our comfort zone. But as an industry, we need to keep multiculturalism front of mind if we are going to connect with America's "minority majority" population.
An old friend used to lament the lack of discipline in advertising theory by saying that if we approached the physical sciences in the same way we approach the advertising sciences, we'd still think the world was flat and the moon was made of cheese. Harsh, perhaps, but fair. There is no doubt that most theories about how advertising work are based on anecdote and feeling rather than real evidence. Which brings me to my favorite example of evidence that contradicts current theory: the Super Bowl. Now, I'm sticking my neck out a little here. The truth about a …
"Wet my beak" is mafia-speak for "cut me my share." It's usually uttered with a sly forefinger wipe of the nose, for emphasis. That's basically what the unhappy members of the Writers Guild of America West are doing when they protest product placement in TV programming. They pat their proboscis while whining about how their favorite reality programs are being turned into infomercials by the intrusion of brands in plot lines.