Uncle Seth is right.

Huge fan of The Seth Godin. Read his blog daily. He’s an idea machine. I also love thinking about media and society. and the interplay between the two. he likes thinking about that too.

As he points out in this post, ye olde post-TV cognitive surplus is a bear that has been roused from its slumber. it’s a powerful beast whose behavior is still developing. and one that hasn’t been kind to the post-war forged-by-TV-ads brands whose enjoyed a very symbiotic relationship with the TV and Cable Networks. The Green Giant ain’t so jolly about the internet.

TV really was like a mild sedative on the masses. The hippies were right in that respect! But it wasn’t a grand conspiracy. it was just a unique opportunity to create the biggest audience ever. And profit from the creation of it. TV was where it was at for a very long time. and old habits die hard.

the internet is a very different kettle of fish. it is resoundingly not dependent on advertising for its existence. and in fact it is kind of allergic to advertising. advertising doesn’t really belong there. we have to force our way in.

most brands aren’t cool. they’re functional. nobody cares about them. nobody talks about them. and quite often they come from cultures who may be stuck in the past organizationally too. in a sense the whole operation is predicated upon carpet-bombing their brand into the public consciousness via TV ads. these are the ones that are most adversely affected by the diversion of consumers’ attention away from the TV screen. they’re in a bit of a bind. their cultures quite often militate against doing the right thing in the current media landscape. they are bound by what worked in the very different recent past. but that’s OK! everyone over the age of 15 is in transition mode to some extent. the rate of change has been crazy. let’s not forget that.

Like we have pointed out, the internet is great for selling Irish bagpipes. Seth similarly uses the example of the Best Made Axe company. ultra-niche brands who can now talk to the whole world. they win online. meanwhile nobody cares a fig about the poor not so Jolly Green Giant online. he was a TV creation.

i have worked in the media/ad biz for 20 years now. and i’ve been lucky enough to have been in the eye of the storm for a lot of those years. i worked on big brands with big media budgets. and i got the opportunity to innovate. and i like to think that i took chances whenever i could.

and here’s what it all feels like to me. it feels like i was floating down the mississippi for years and suddenly the river started to get narrower and narrower. and narrower. how many people will read this? maybe 300 in one day. that’s about 80 million less than watches the superbowl. advertising is only as good as the audience that sees it.

I have no media bias except this one. The bigger the audience the better i like it. This post was brought to you by OfficeMax who urge you to check out their great back-to-school deals and unequalled product selection. Thank you!

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