It’s a bit intimidating/humbling to be going for this walk in Young Noah’s shoes – but as he checks in on his ancestors I’ll see if I can’t move the ball the least bit forward. I was mulling over what to discuss in the past few days and the one thing that has been driving me absolute batshit crazy is the David Blaine NBA ads which point out a series of problems with how corporate marketers deliver messages, and then the Paris Hilton nonsense (I live in LA so it is necessary for me to dabble in the booming craft of celebutantistm). And in the end they both speak to the same thing – which are opposite sides of the same coin – where marketers are and where consumers are and how on Earth we, as digital pros need to take heed of that if we are to bridge that gap.
But first my bit of vitriol for the genius behind the David Blaine playoff ads.
First there’s the astonishing bit of me-tooism that is so obvious as to be painful. You can see the marketing meeting that took place after those brilliant Don Cheadle NFL Playoff ads aired, which began in 2002.
MARKETING DIRECTOR OF THE NFL: Did you see those ads? Did you? We need something like that.
MARKETING MANAGER OF THE NFL: On it.
Cut to some FIVE YEARS LATER (even Cheadle’s later efforts of doing the NFL Ads failed to live up to his earlier brilliance) and we get David F’ing Blaine, delivering some crap message about Magic in the most tired, lame-ass monotone voice it calls to mind Tex Avery’s wondrous creation Droopy. And this is important for a few reasons, the NBA ads have featured stars that that were no longer in the playoffs which when you’re trying to entice viewers isn’t necessarily the best strategy. The guy they select to do his best Don Cheadle, the guy they decide to give mass dollars to is David Blaine, who is so over as to not even really merit the blog inches I’m giving him. And third it shows the NBA’s inability to capitalize on what was fresh in the Playoffs which was Baron Davis of the Golden State Warriors and for the moment – King James.
So point the first – the corporate marketer can be SLOW, LATE and OUT OF TOUCH.
Now Paris. Believe me I don’t really deal with the Hilton bit too much. I once was in a bar with her and her sister Nikki at about the time her 15 minutes began and I literally felt my brain being sucked out of my head. But it doesn’t matter what I think, it doesn’t matter what you think- Paris coverage is off-the-hook. The madness outside of her home when she was under house-arrest for the day was a media orgy totally out-of-sync with the actual course of events. (A young woman got a DUI and then violated her probation). A panel was convened to discuss the whole matter on Larry King Live, and the news of her court date and re-incarceration were trumpeted on news crawls. And what does this say about our culture – that Paris is where it’s at. The nexis of Celebrity, Money, Fame with not simply very little but actually ZERO substance behind it.
So here we have the very nearly opposite of the corporate marketer. The consumer is hyper-aware mercurial, and wholly interested in flash for flash’ sake.
It’s not quite as tidy an equation as I’d like but this is blogging so forgive if it is not perfectly thought out. We as professionals interested in delivering messages that resonate sit squarely in the middle – it is our challenge to get the marketer up to speed and not creating me-too campaigns 5 years too late and to interest the consumer in more than the pretty pictures and the viral vid du jour but something with a little teeth behind it.
The first bit – dealing with the client is the easier of the two, but ignoring where their head is at while we blog, twitter, and flickr ourselves to death would be unwise.
And the second bit, the Paris thing, is more a state-of-the union in that her incarceration really is what the peeps seem to be fixated on. How do you deliver a message of any heft when the person you’re talking to has shown themselves either constitutionally incapable or philosophically disinclined?