Sunday, March 02, 2008

Advertising: The Future, Now, and Past

Our National Board of Directors was in town this week. In my opinion, this is a great week at Tech, as we have mass communications industry leaders from across the nation travel to Lubbock.

I believe that the experience is very beneficial, as we get a chance to merge ideas about education and industry.

And as was the case last year, a lot of the talk was about change. And there is a lot of change. We spent a lot of time talking about "new media."

On Thursday night, Linda Sease, Scripps' director of marketing/newspapers, gave an address on, a new online venture.

The next morning, Clear Channel Television's Bill Moll gave an address on the future of television.

Both talks were informative, and both heavily relied on new technologies.

All of which led me to ask -- God forbid -- was Marshall McLuhan right? Is the medium the message?

And I still think the answer is a resounding "no." It's still the message.

I'm still trying to finish David Ogilvy's Confessions of an Advertising Man. Four decades after is was written, it is still uncannily accurate.

The world is changing quickly. The media world is changing even more quickly. People don't change so quickly.

Good advertising might be a banner ad rather than a 30-second spot -- it really is no longer a 60-second spot. But people are still people. Are connecting with them means understanding them.

Good strategy is good strategy. Young would-be advertisers are still better advised to read Ogilvy than Wired Magazine.

The medium is still the medium. You need to understand it. But it does not drive the day. The consumer drives the day. If you don't understand the medium, you're a fool. Don't try to put 30 words on a billboard. They won't be read, and you'll cause accidents. That's just common sense. But if you throw bad strategy up on the same billboard, you've made an even worse mistake.

You might muddy your brand's image and undo other on-strategy work.

It's absurdly simple, really. You have to understand your customer and your medium. Somehow in this rush to adapt, it seems that the medium is getting top billing. And I suggest that is ill-advised.

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Blogger Tim Laubacher said...


McLuhan (via telephone): Lassie! I'm stuck in the well!

Lassie (via telephone): Woof! This phone is great!

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Content may be king, but the idea of that new iPhone is still better than the thought of anything you can do with it (e.g. checking the weather or watching crappy YouTube videos on it).


10:40 AM  
Blogger Samuel D. Bradley said...

Lassie example is hilarious!

And the iPhone is more about one's love for Apple, early adoption, and toys than it is about the medium. Agreed.

12:23 PM  

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