There has been a lot of talk at school about reaching consumers through multiple touchpoints outside of advertising. One of those touchpoints is through branded entertainment. I remember a couple months ago there was buzz about CP+B writing a movie and even today, Martin is doing a sitcom in both situations everyone is up in arms about it. However, it appears Microsoft beat them to it – twenty years ago. This is a video they sent to retailers to explain the benefits of Windows 386. Watch the whole thing to get the payoff.
Interestingly enough, if you go to the page right now, you’ll see a presentation about successful web 2.0 startups on the front page. At about page 16, they list one of the attributes of failure as“had to try too hard at marketing”.
I had an interesting conversation with a classmate of mine about our inability to speak loudly during presentations and such.
She said that it was a cultural thing, but she mentioned that her father was pretty loud, which caused her and her mother accommodate by being quieter. Recalling my own childhood, it was kind of same way except with my mother. Regardless, we agreed that in America, you have to be pretty loud to get the attention you need to sell your point (or any attention at all).
Which led us to the conclusion: People don’t listen.
This manifests itself in everything from people ranting all the time about their problems; people paying other people to listen to them talk about their emotional issues (therapists); explosive arguments left and right; and millions of girlfriends complaining that their boyfriends don’t listen enough. Is there any other place in the world that has these problems?
I would argue that our culture promotes it by promoting the idea of individualism, creating an everyman-for-himself-situation, which makes personal communication a matter of survival.
My classmate was also talking about how she’s adapted by mastering the art of nodding and smiling and adding the obligatory “uh-huh” to fake that she’s listening. And it doesn’t seem to bother the speaker at all.
Which leads us to another conclusion: personal communication, it seems, can just be a monologue.
This again, seems to be built on this individualism vibe we have going here. Our egos are so large that we feel like we can have an exchange of ideas through talking to ourselves. And it’s really unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on how you look at it), because our culture rewards this kind of behavior.
A lot of us (in the ad industry at least) are taught to have an opinion on everything and to express it. No matter if you actually know anything about what you’re being asked. This is ridiculous, because again, there’s no listening involved and it’s a monologue. God forbid you call time out to reflect on things. Part of the ridiculousness of planning is that it’s just that – listening. That’s my job, to listen to people and then reflect on what they said. It’s certainly something EVERYONE can do, but why they devote a special position for it? Well, now we know.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about personal communications and how we talk to each other. Frankly, I don’t think we do. I think personal communications is really just a monologue with an audience (more on that later). But this little exercise reminded me of a paper I wrote in my second week of class during the first semester. I was supposed to write about why I am going to be a great leader. The result, landed me in the dog house for the semester (and probably a lifetime ban from my professor’s agency). But, after these past few days, I am convinced that this is what I believe in:
Don’t Bother Me I’m Working
This assignment is the biggest load of crap ever and I’m reluctant to take part in this exercise of self fellatio because:
* It seems to me that the more time we spend thinking about why we are going to be the greatest, the less time we spend working;
* The more emphasis we put on such a narrow goal, the less like we are to see the big picture;
* The more effort we spend trumpeting our accomplishments and strengths to assert our position among the greatest, the less effort we spend listening;
* The more energy we spend trying to figure out how to be great leaders, the less energy we have left to learn how to be great teachers;
* The more obsessed we become about our status as great leaders, the less obsessed we become about grooming our predecessors;
* The more we are convinced that we need to be recognized for greatness, the more convinced we are that humility is not important.
So, as this parade of self promotion weaves its way through idiocy and shamelessness and ends with an orgy of self satisfaction; do me a favor and don’t bother me, I’m working.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people in the ad business casually swear like sailors. While I’m not offended by swearing, it just seems very inefficient to me.
I tend to think that swear words are used to express anger, disgust, frustration and so on. The point is, these words are emotionally charged. What happens when we use them casually? They loose meaning. And how do we make those emotions more apparent? By overexerting ourselves through yelling louder, shaking our fists, and getting all red.
This seems to be a good metaphor for advertising these days. We casually sell stuff based on these emotionally charged pitches – coolness, success, hope, joy, satisfaction, etc. And since everyone is using the same appeals, those emotions become meaningless, people tune it out. So how do we fix it? Increasing frequency. Buying more ad space and cleverly doing that thing where we buy the same time slot of multiple channels so no one can escape that crunchy, chewy almond-y goodness.
I guess the point is that we should be more thoughtful. We should aspire to be that one guy who can convey an extreme emotion just by staring at you.