Traditional vs Digital. It’s all advertising. Everybody hates it.

(this post started out as a comment on a post on the always excellent Ben Kay blog.

but was it so filled with winning and tiger blood, and so long, that i put it here.

winking smiley face made of punctuation)

When we started The Escape Pod back in 2006 one of our motivations was we were heartily sick of all the talk of the digital future.

How the internet was new and cool and you just couldn’t understand it maaan!

But it was definitely going to change EVERYTHING!!!

Meanwhile Google had effectively stolen the Internet as an advertising medium. Something that was lost on an astounding number of ad folks.

So we decided to explore the digital present.

Our original internal mission statement was: ADVERTISING AGENCY OF THE PRESENT.

Which still applies I think.

At the time, digital agencies were hot.

Mostly because the internet was still in the late stages of its infancy.

And there was still some ignorance and mystery about the internet. And how marketers might best use it.

Digital agencies over positioned themselves as kind of the GEEK SQUAD of marketing in my opinion.

We know stuff you will never know dude! So back off old man!

So they set about hooking up the cables and switches and doodads that were beyond the ken of average folk.

Do you know what HTML5 is?

Do you care?

Exactly.

But now that all the internet plumbing has been done, the digital agencies are realizing that the game is up to an extent.

And what’s left?

Ideas!

But that’s the province of the traditional ad agency.

So now digital agencies are faced with extinction, potentially.

To be outlived by the dinosaurs that they were so quick to call dinosaurs.

Advertising has always been about ideas.

And nobody ever cared about advertising.

In fact they actively dislike what we do.

Because usually it’s annoying.

They hate your stupid TV commercial.

They hate your stupid radio ad.

And they hate your stupid banner ad.

And they hate your stupid website.

And they hate your stupid viral video.

And they hate your stupid Facebook app.

And they hate your stupid Twitter idea.

Digital agencies are suddenly forced with actually competing for your attention.

Whether they know it or not, they are in the content business.

And content is hard.

Ask William Shakespeare.

Or Steven Spielberg.

There’s an old cowboy expression that I love.

Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.

I think it applies here.

14 responses to “Traditional vs Digital. It’s all advertising. Everybody hates it.

  1. Agreed. Let me know when you’re hiring.

  2. Ciaran McCabe

    You nailed it, Vinny.

  3. Agency of the present is fucking genius.

  4. Thanks Vinny.

  5. I think we need to make a punk song called They Hate lol

    I think digital has been mostly a failure to date. I think what my digital strategy would be is 2 simple bullet points. Customers need to find me on traditional and mobile platforms easily. Then I would invest in the best F-n website/mobile experience out there so they remember and come back.

  6. Yes, this is dead on. While freelancing at a digital shop last year that I won’t name, they were putting together a presentation for their clients highlighting the best digital work of the year. The #1 thing they came up with was Old Spice (This was before they brilliantly decided to directly responded to people’s tweets). So they were just talking about a 30 second TV spot from a traditional agency. Why? Because it had racked up millions of hits on YouTube. I mentioned YouTube doesn’t make an ad a digital idea, it’s a delivery system. And I got stared at like I was talking gibberish. They couldn’t see the difference and that scared me more than anything. Old Spice was great because the creative was brilliant, not because it was on YouTube. Hell, I’ve seen ads from the 1960’s on YouTube, does that make them digital?

  7. you’re spot on.
    digital is also just an advertising hype. real people don’t give a damn.

    on the other hand…
    call me naive, but I really believe that people actually love ads.
    as long as there are inteligent, funny, non-patronizing ads that openly treat people with respect.
    that’s why I can’t understand why there isn’t more of that.

    my eternal struggle with clienst is exactly that: treat people with respect and you’ll have ’em for life (you can even afford occasional mistake and they’ll forgive you). start bullshiting them and they’re out your door before you finish the sentence.

    • i agree riki. people love ads as long as they delight and surprise the audience. just like any other successful creative output they have to obey the laws of gravity and be actually interesting in and of themselves. otherwise it’s just radiation.

  8. Communication is communication. How it is delivered is immaterial (literally in the case of the web).

    Why is that so hard for people to grasp?

    Also, an iPad or the internet are things born of ideas – not ideas themselves. And when we refer to content, the silent prefix is “useful.” We can fill an entire website with crap, but it will still be crap. Not content.

    Good stuff on this here blogamajig. Carry on.

  9. exactly chris. you speak the truth! the ad industry became blinded by the digital bullshit. those days are over now.

    around here at least!

    people like stories. stories will always win.

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