Friday, August 7, 2009

The Future of Advertising

(above is the vomit of this digital marketing behemoth)

Perhaps it is because creatives AND business people are the biggest bunch of navel-gazers on the planet, but I am SO sick of hearing about "the future of advertising". "The future of advertising is . . . !" or "John, what would YOU say is the future of advertising?" or "Is advertising dead?"

It's like the frivolity of fashion forecasting. In fact the parallels between our industry and the fashion industry are staggering (for all that industry types loathe fashion ads). The point being, you can sit on the red carpet and postulate that patent leather will be the must-have for fall, but people with real style aren't very affected by these trends. They disdain the trendy and go for a unique style that conveys their values and outlook on the world and that works with their body types. They understand that jumping on fall's fad will leave them looking like an idiot in spring.

Not that I am the most stylish person in the world, but I do enjoy the impact of smart aesthetic choices in clothes, and I know that there are items in my closet that I wore in high school that still garner praise and still look very fresh and relevant and can be found echoed in the "latest trends".

It's like vintage Chanel or the brand identity designs of Paul Rand. They still look great, they are still appealing, and they are still very effective.

Rather than trying to figure out the next gimmick, I think it is the role of good advertising/marketing/pr/creative agencies to help individual companies find their own "sense of style", then as gimmicks and trends come along, like the latest social media app (it's scary how easily that word comes now) or a new media outlet, you can work with the brand to decide, "Does this fit? Hm. Maybe it kind of makes my ass look fat, let's go with the distressed oxford shirt. If we we change out the buttons and pull it with a cool blazer, we can really make it work." Ultimately, I guess I am saying its about the identity/message, not the medium and not the funky tools (*cough* drop shadow!).

PS-I will confess I am still irked that everyone started wearing blazers with jeans a few years ago because I enjoyed being the only person wearing that in high school.