41. The Future of Advertising

26 Nov

Being my senior year in college I am trying to suck up as much information, knowledge, and insight that I can before I step out into the ‘real world’. In this world, the advertising I create will not be mock up ideas where a budget is not considered, and I am free to create whatever I want. I will have clients, deadlines, budget, and other people’s opinions besides mine and my professor’s to consider. To say that I am intimidated by this scenario would be a vast understatement. What if the information I am absorbing like a sponge is the wrong information? You don’t have to be involved in advertising to understand that media consumption is undergoing a massive transition. Possibly one of the largest transitions in history. Where does that leave advertising?

Pondering this dismal thought that the industry I am setting myself up for is going through a make-over, I came across a Fast Company article titled ‘ The Future of Advertising’. The article discussed a Swedish design school called Hyper Island, known for churning out talented digital advertising students. Former successful ad execs go to this school to learn about the changing environment for advertising, and express their feelings about the change stating:

“This whole ‘collaboration, we’ll work together as a team’ breaking down of the creative director and art director team — I find it fucking difficult.”

So, what does Hyper Island tell the execs to do?

-Story building, not telling. In order to respond to an unpredictable audience instantly.
-Marketing should be useful. Thinking like a product developer.
-Let go of your ego.

Reading this, I begin to feel better. I know digital. My peers know digital. We understand that you can’t have an ego in an industry that revolves around creativity that is judged not by those that you work with, but my a consumer that may be unpredictable and unlike you.

Advertising went through a transition in the 1960’s from a sleazy act, to something of art. Sure, there are plenty of sleazy advertisements out there, but that is not what I want to have a part in.

“The death of mass marketing means the end of lazy marketing.”

This couldn’t be more true. Advertising has the ability to reach a very specific demographic, with a personalized message, at the right time. The possibilities for a real connection are drastically increased with the influx of media platforms. It is also no longer a one-way conversation. Consumers can talk to brands, either good or bad experiences.

There is also an increasing competition between advertising agencies to win accounts. Businesses want an agency that is accepting of this change, rather than running away from it.

“”The Great Race,” as Forrester Research dubbed it in March, drives a more intense competition over an already shrinking pie, and there won’t be room for everyone. En route to the center, agencies are chasing one another to the bottom.”

I strongly suggest reading this article. It gives a long and broad perspective about where the industry is going. At the meeting of Hyper Island, there was a Twitter feed for the group. Most of the group didn’t know what Twitter was. This is bad news for older advertising execs stuck in their ways. But, I think it is the new crop of advertising graduates that can take this new and scary landscape, and create great work.


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