I remember waaay back in the late ’90s being told being told by countless internet experts that advertising was dead because of the internet.
And that TV and TV advertising was also dead. Or in its death throes.
And that we were about to enter a glorious new age of Long Tail utopia where content wanted to be free and people were going to become ultra-rational and somehow immune to advertising and persuasion in general.
Like Spock on Star Trek!
Well that didn’t pan out did it.
Once again in the early-mid 2000s, advertising (and TV) was about to die for different reasons.
This time it was social media. And the wisdom of the crowd. And…a bunch of stuff that you don’t get because you’re too damn stupid! And I’m a goddamn social media expert! So shut up!
At least that’s how it felt ;-)
Now undeniably, whenever something wins (the internet!) something has to lose. And print media has evaporated at a shocking rate.
And I know I watch less – but better quality—TV than I used to. For what that’s worth.
I suspect I’m not alone.
The problem with both doomsday scenarios and utopian predictions is that they fail to take into account humanity.
Most people are somewhere in the middle on most things.
Life is complicated. We like a bit of this and a bit of that.
We rarely go all in. Life is plain more interesting that way.
Humanity is humanity.
And humans are driven by things other than media and technological innovations.
They’re nice and all, but they’re not really real. People are real.
I remember seeing an hilarious TV show from the 1950s where British intellectuals tried to predict the effects of TV on the mass audience.
“Ballet and opera could now be disseminated to everyone! Surely new age of enlightenment was upon us!”
“Cinema would certainly now die now that films could viewed in your living room!”
(In the spirit of the times, I am going to crowdsource the brilliant and profound wrap-up paragraph to this blog post. Thank you crowd! I’m sure it will be just awesome!)