The end of digital innocence (2010 edition)

[I originally wrote this post almost exactly TWO years ago. Something annoyed me today. The notion of charging desperate “traditional” advertising people lots of money so they can suddenly “get digital” in boot camp format. You know who you are! So I thought I’d redo my bit to put these digital charlatans out of business. If you’d like to know the future of advertising, here’s my .02 cents. Video. Yup video. Learn to really tell a story using , irony of ironies, a “digital” camera. Suck on that ya codewritin’ geek]


Whenever a new medium comes along there is an understandable degree of suspicion and fear on behalf of those whose livelihoods was predicated on the older media.

Silent movie matinee stars with great faces but squeaky high-pitched voices must have cursed the day sound was added to films.

Not everyone made the transition to the new improved film medium.

Directors who had only directed action now had to contend with dialogue and having to record it. Sets now had to be quiet.

Cinema organists were suddenly rendered obsolete.

And nobody saw it coming.

Nobody ever sees it coming.

Thirty years later the radio industry was rocked by the arrival of TV.

And fifty odd years later, the arrival of the internet has complicated life for lots of industries – the record industry, newspapers, retail, television and television advertising.

We’ve all spent the last ten years watching the internet evolve. And our relationship with it continues to evolve.

And as always there are winners and losers.

But it’s fair to say that even if nobody has a clue where the internet is ultimately headed and what it will ultimately evolve into, we have at least come to grips with the idea of continuing evolution and permanent change as part of our lives.

The Internet is no longer the daunting mysterious “thing” once was.

We are all working out what works online and what doesn’t.

Patterns have emerged and they continue to emerge. And one important thing to remember though is that while our little lives have changed drastically, humanity hasn’t changed that much over the past ten years.

People still care about the things they’ve always cared about: themselves and the ones they love. And, ideally, have a bit of fun along the way. All this is reflected in what’s favored online, just as it has always been reflected in the dominant media of the day.

Ultimately humanity will win out. Every medium gets bent by humanity.

Adding sound to films made them better. TV was a huge improvement on radio. And the internet democratized media and empowered people. We’re no longer just passive consumers of what “the man” dictates they consume.

Look at me…having the temerity to presume that someone out there thinks that what i have to say about advertising is as important as what Barbara Lippert or Bob Garfield has to say about advertising.

Who the hell do I think I am?

2 responses to “The end of digital innocence (2010 edition)

  1. Funny you write about this Vinny. I get tired of this Agency of the Future talk. The future is today. Everything evolves slowly. Nothing blind sides us, not even bird flu. So if people or a business can’t adapt there is a problem. Often I think people write all this BS to fill space. Or for self biased reasons that benefit them or their business.

  2. howie, a huge part of the whole digital advertising sector was based on confusion and ignorance. that is thankfully disappearing. social media is about as hard as using the phone. as we both know.

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