May 2, 2009

Let's Get Back

I want to say that the BBH Labs blog is one of my new addictions and should be read by everyone in our space, its insightful, relevant and has been saying all of the right things.

There was a recent post entitled "10 Reasons Why There’s Not More Great Work in the Interactive Space"

I loved this post for so many reasons.

Digital has suffered because of the relationships that have been formed in the production process.

Smaller digital shops have been feeding off of the low hanging fruits that the agencies have dangled for so many years and have been able to get away with delivering what you so beautifully referred to as MICROWAVED solutions.

These shops have always lacked real creative minds and have stockpiled on flash developers who produce absolutely wonderful work but add very little to the BIG IDEA.

The problem was that in order to execute something online that was compelling, the Idea Folks fooled themselves into thinking that it was the Flash folks who were the only ones to bring those ideas to life because there were so few really good ones and they were all stockpiled in these digital shops.

As we all know that is no longer the case. Now that social media, WP, HTML, Video and other venues have emerged, Flash is no longer the only sexy kid on the block. Digital shops now need to rethink how they do business and either completely submit to the larger agencies or to offer up real idea based solutions as a supplement to the agency offerings.

We all knew this was coming and that in order to create good work we would need to be strategic and think along the lines that our MAD FATHERS thought and to get back to the foot in the door and the fedora peddler roots that advertising originated from. A used car salesman wakes up every day, knowing he has to put on his A game, get his ass in gear and sell the shit out of his lot, to seduce the moms, college kids, down and outs and up and comers that his product is what they need and will provide them with value and usage.

We have all succumbed to the thinking that we are any better than that guy, we are not, we need to realize this in order to set things straight.

There is a humility to what he does and we need to adopt that same humility when selling our clients products.

The web is a very big place, tons of room for everyone to thrive, lets not pollute it with empty ideas. Interactive is revolutionary, it now gives us the ability to get immediate feedback and then act upon that just as immediately. It lets us interface directly with our audiences in a so much more intimate way than ever before.

I agree that the narrative and story telling is what will breathe life into the web and what it desperately lacks. the code/narrative ratio is way off.

There is just as much importance for a great story teller as there is for a great coder or designer, but show me one interactive shop that employs a great copy writer, I have met very very few.

So lets not let the technology of our new medium cloud our notion that old school disciplines like writing and selling are no longer needed, sometimes youth’s ego is its greatest downfall.

1 comment:

Ben Malbon said...

Craig, thanks so much for your comments and post. I think humility is a key concept that I hinted at but didn’t touch on overtly in my original post; it’s critical.

There seems to be nothing short of a turf war going on between various factions of the industry, almost certainly driven by a dangerous and inflammable mixture of fear and pride (see, for example, this extraordinary exchange: Those obsessed with margins and / or credit will surely have to come to terms that they’ll end up empty-handed on both fronts if they don’t change their attitude. We start with that simple mantra that I’ve mentioned elsewhere: ‘no matter where you are, most of the smart people are somewhere else’. We believe it’s not possible (& probably not wise, even if it were) for a single company to ‘own’ all the skills required to produce greatness. So to ‘content’ and ‘context’, we’d add ‘collaboration’.

Cheers for the comments. Watch this space for the next chapter on this theme. Ben