Predicting the future is a mug’s game. Nobody predicted Google, or youtube. they may have felt the need for the service they provide but nobody saw them coming.
interesting tale: we at the escape pod once had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Google’s first salesman, david scacco. he was the guy whose job it was to visit ad agencies back in 1998 and sell advertising agencies on the merits of using google. in 1998! can you imagine a tougher sell? He showed us his foamcore backed presentation boards that he used to use in his original presentation. surely they’re in the google museum by now. they were very funny. stuff like “over 125,000 daily users!” and “search over 2 million web pages!”.
even if he’d presented Google, the idea of google, to me back in 1998, i’m pretty sure i would not have recognized its future potential. so no future predictions from The Escape Pod.
OK, just one. It’s this. 2009 will mark a return to the basics of advertising in a big way. and i don’t just mean in a there’s-a-recession-we-have-to-sell-stuff way. I mean a refocusing on what advertising is supposed to do as opposed to “ooh look there’s a new digital thingy let’s obsess about that for ages”. we see a return to big ideas. big ideas that can effortlessly be incarnated in any medium or platform or whatever. big ideas have, and always had, power. they are infectious and usually elemental. they have intrinsic value. they are WORTH something. they can make a brand. my first boss was the guy who came up with the big ideas that made Perdue Chicken (the best) Volvo (well engineered safety) and Maxell Tapes (worth it) what they were. his ideas (and the ideas of his clients) created a magic. he defined brands. he said he “helped brands realize their destinies”. which i always thought was as neat a definition of advertising as i’ve ever heard.
i recently had to buy tires for my minivan and one image kept swirling around in head. the baby sitting on the Michelin tire with the line “Michelin. Because so much is riding on your tires”. That’s what i mean by a big idea. have they even run that ad in the past ten years? didn’t matter. there it was, still haunting my consciousness. still being the decisive factor in the purchase process of a product that everybody feels is important but nobody really has a clue about.
i think at this point we have all digested the idea of the internet and had enough experience of it that we’re not in its thrall anymore. we get it. it has its uses. but it’s not the only tool available to us. so let’s apply big ideas to to it.
have we entered the “post-internet” age?
[update: is it just me or does the baby in the michelin ad look like an irish-american tavern owner?]