By Sam Collins
Advertising is created and consumed faster than ever before.
As agencies publish content across hundreds of mediums and platforms they target prospects more accurately too with deep wells of data. But whether data and tech enhances or dampens creative output is a question that seems to have left much of the industry in somewhat of an identity crisis.
Being only 10 days in to SCA, my experience in the industry might be limited, but here’s my take on it so far.
I grew up with 5 terrestrial TV channels and Channel 5 never even worked. Nowadays we have hundreds of channels, many of which are ‘on-demand.’ Most media I watch is completely ad-free. When it came to social media, the only time I engaged with what was then ’S o c i a l M e d i a,’ was asking girls out to Pizza Express on MSN. This glorious exercise in romance was conducted on a shared family desktop computer. The thing wouldn’t even dial-up without disconnecting the landline first. This limited and irregular engagement with tech is a far cry from my experience nowadays – where barely a conscious hour of my day seems to pass without at least a cursory glance at one of the many social media platforms I’ve signed up to.
As a consequence of the invention of the internet and smart phones, there has been an explosion in the volume of content produced. This reality is actually what put me off going in to advertising several years ago. I was consuming content in what felt like such a fleeting, almost careless manner, that I felt as if pursuing a career in advertising would leave me grumpily pissing in the wind. At the time I reasoned that I wouldn’t want to make ads for a living because a) they’re unlikely to ever get seen since there’s so much out there and b) even if they do get seen, they’ll just vanish in the black hole of the internet soon after.
I mean, I use an AdBlocker – clearly I don’t belong in this world, right? I mean, would a car mechanic cycle to work?!
A few things that have changed my mind since:
- Human nature is as it has been for millions of years. Our deep evolutionary history isn’t going to be rewritten by a dozen models of iPhone. People on the whole are still motivated by the same primal instincts. To be better. To be admired by their peers. Some aspire to stand out, but most aspire to fit in. These features of the human species have endured the test of time and are here to stay. The same rules of communication still apply – and as a consequence of tech we are able to assess the effectiveness of our work more closely in real time.
- Good work gets noticed and can reach more people than ever before. It doesn’t matter how many fish there are in the ocean, a sperm whale is always going to make a splash. Make something great and you will get noticed. This, coupled with the innumerable ways it’s possible for content to go viral both internationally and instantaneously, makes today a very exciting time to be a creative.
- Brands are being forced to become better storytellers. Selling a product or service isn’t enough for a business anymore. Brands need clear voices to connect with consumers across mediums. Crucially, they need a mission and a meaning too. Since one’s objectivity is lost almost immediately after a project has begun, brands are generally not the best tellers of their stories.This is just wonderful news…for us.