October 5, 2009

The Pendulum Rest

When a powerful industry is uprooted from its long standing position, it is subject to a restoring force due to the natural laws of gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position.

However what is unique about the situation we find ourselves in here in advertising is that the acceleration back has actually altered the original equilibrium position.

What was once known as traditional advertising (print, radio, TV, outdoor) has been replaced with digital media. As the pendulum is settling back into place it is experiencing an altered equilibrium state that is quite different from where it originally started.

When released, the restoring force will cause it to oscillate about the equilibrium position, swinging back and forth. That dizzying oscillation is what we had been experiencing for about 8-10 years now.

The entire industry had been thrown into a flurry of definitions and a tug of war for the right to claim supremacy over the prevailing creative platform that is what we now know as Digital.

Perseverance and a new form of communication were both the sword and the shield wielded by digital creatives and technical professionals everywhere. Once considered nothing more than a service, we now stand tall looking out toward a new frontier.

An economic meltdown and new forms of social media helped usher in this new golden age of advertising. What was once thought to be an impossible battle soon became a truce, not a bloody victory, but a truce of sides willing to work together in order to thrive in this new environment.

Digital is not a revolution but an evolution.

It is creativity plus time.

Creativity thrives in free spaces. The onset of the web was about trying new things and failing for the sake of experience, like a toddler taking its first steps. It was a vast wide open space where ideas could be nurtured and matured.

But now the web is dominated by social media, news and entertainment and it is in those annals that we find fertile ground for our creative ads and capitalistic allure.

Powerful creative ideas compete powerfully when they are doing what those ideas are supposed to do, which is to provoke our audiences to not only be entertained, but also to think, to react and to interact. That is how advertising has evolved.

Digital is a repartee.

A succession or interchange of clever retorts.

The brands are now the straight man and the consumers are part of the act.

It is our job to set them up to retort not just for the sake of retort but for the sake of engagement and that engagement will eventually lead to loyalty and trust through allowing that conversation to take place.

We have been swung back in time.

Back to an age where the merchants engaged in conversation with their customers.

Like a digital souk where yelling and response both stimulates and excites all the shoppers into a frenzy, a lively center of commerce where the marketplace is the platform for socialization and communication.

Digital has converged advertising and the marketplace back into one area, back into a souk where people gathered to do business and to share ideas, crowded, bustling and exciting, the way it was meant to be.

The time for one complete cycle is a left swing and a right swing, that is called a period.

A new period has begun.

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