Wednesday, 8 December 2010

1968 Awesomeness

One of the remarkable things about that fluffy bunch of overpaid and creatively cauterized group of advertising sheep is they're obession with bleating "awesomeness" (a value neutral contribution) at any opportunity. Could it be they've neglected to see how the world is changing before our eyes?

I was staggered some years back to read that planners (or that increasingly bloated class of notionally-superficial-intellect planning-charlatans) admit they didn't see the relevance of the internet when it emerged in the early 90's, for our business. This is beyond words for a category with the privilege of being able to think things through and when to my mind any sentient being could see it was the most cataclysmic disruption and challenge to the mainstream broadcast media business ever. As time progresses I put it to you that a normalization of human interaction is taking place such that if there is tipping point against monologue messaging, it will be irreversible. We've utterly blown any trust or credibility we may have had a chance to retain or even earn back.

Furthermore knowing the advertising group-think dynamics quite intimately, I confidently predict they will do an ideological about turn because their relationship with the truth is largely defined by a pampered and paunchy lifestyle expensed at the celebration of vacuous and immorally wasteful consumption, and as Arthur Schopenhauer elaborated:

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident

I put it to you that the privileged and influential (information) classes will clamber over the bleeding bodies of the violently opposed, to claim that truth as if it were their own all along. That's how awesome advertising people are, by and large.

Maybe you think I'm overstating the case? Well I always like to invoke the observation that out of all the ethnographic studies, hanging out with cool peeps, endless focus groups and datanormous quantitative research that advertising does, it's the last to highlight when and where the revolutions or real change are emerging. An example?

Here in Bangkok a hundred were mown down by army snipers earlier this year and yet not one research company could point out that there existed a modicum of dissatisfaction with the existing regime? What an own goal. We spend endless amounts trying to connect with customers on a meaningful level yet why is that we neither ask the right questions or listen to the right answers?

The reason for this is that it's not in a remedial planners short-term best interest to point out that large cultural shifts are taking place. No, advertising is largely a sycophantic extension of the wealth creation machine for the wealthy. And for those who have studied their Marx the ability for the latest, fastest and most powerful version of Capitalism to emerge out of Singapore and take root in China is Authoritarian Capitalism. An unexpected strain that is not only more effective than the neo-liberal version championed in the West but and most sobering for anyone thinking things through right now, is largely disconnected from democratic representation. Below is just another sign of the times. A police officer who cowered in his car for three hours as the mobs outside clamoured for his blood. This isn't something I expect to see in the United States any time soon as the bread and circus distractions are way too awesome to connect the corn syrup classes with their own highly diminished and globally parasitic existence.

I put it to you that the crime isn't about joining in with the awesomeness group chant, in the hope it paints a picture of you as a warm and cuddly. But if there's no edge to anything else you've got to say, you're just another bloated corpse on the advertising gravy train. Part of the problem and blocking the solution. Time will tell. It always does.