Okay, so, maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s the Friday after a very condensed work week and I’ve just finally gone bonkers. But so help me, if I see one more note about how “xyz” in the marketing world is dying, I might have to become a big green giant monster. There are going to be challenges involved in that endeavor, I’m not going to lie. But it feels like almost anything would be preferable to hearing how something is dead or how something is killing something else.
The History of Death
Now there’s a subhead that screams TGIF, right?
Here’s the thing. A few times throughout the history of the world, saying that something was dead, or saying that something was going to kill something else, was entirely, 100% true and spot on. It’s said that many dinosaurs were blogging about volatile weather and environmental conditions before they all became oil for our cars. Native Americans were pretty spot on about how the neverending tide of strangers would affect them. Train guys were right that the Model T would probably not help the train business. Maybe there was even a bit of truth to the song “Video killed the radio star.”
I’ll give you all of that.
Sometimes, I’ll even concede, living beings pass away, and you can trace the causes.
I’m entirely reasonable. I will agree with you on all of that. Now, let me say something else.
Print is not dying. Advertising is not dying. They are changing. Could they die if we flail about and say OH MY GOODNESS THEY ARE GONNA DIE! Yep. But otherwise, we’re in okay shape.
Print is not dying
What do we mean when we say “Print” anyway? Are we talking about newspapers? Magazines? Ads in magazines? Books? I’ve always wondered how such a simple word, covering so many iterations, could be consigned to death.
My good friend Stan (aka @pushingsocial) had a great quote during one of our shared Twitter chats. He said that if print is dying (and I paraphrase) it is probably because what you are putting into print is very very stinky. I liked that a lot. So did a lot of other people. Stan is the king of chat RTs.
So given that, why are people saying that print is dead? Let me ask YOU some questions.
If there hadn’t been so many stories about how the New York Times had plagiarized and falsified stories, do you think it would still be in this much trouble?
If people were taught at a young age to enjoy creating, reading, and sharing good content beyond the realm of the X-box, do you think we would consider books to be in such trouble? And by the way, if people aren’t buying books, why are they going to get a Kindle so that they can buy lots of books? I am hazy on that. Please help.
If print ads were creative, informative, less selly, and had clear calls to action, would we say that print ads were dying/ill/dead/wimpy?
Print is changing. Direct mail is changing. Print advertisements are changing. Change can mean dying, but that’s an awfully negative way to look at things. When your kid graduates and goes off to college, do you get condolence cards lamenting the passing of said kid’s youth? I sure hope not. Change can be exciting. It can be rife with opportunity. We can use print in new and exciting ways. We can be innovative. But no. We are all plugging for a place on Six Feet Under – the sequel (marketing style).
Advertising is not dead either
Okay, I’ll grant you, I have some personal stock invested in this fact. If advertising has died already, then I have created an extremely intricate hallucinatory world for myself, minus things like a personal masseuse or a hulky husband.
What is advertising? I think we need to look at this work and break it down. Essentially, advertising is really promoting, right? Like, if someone at a really nice restaurant yells out something extremely personal about themselves, we might say something like, “geeze, advertise it why doncha?” In point of fact, humans have been advertising for centuries. It was promoters who drove people to go West on the Oregon Trail, after all. “Oh yes, you will love the oxen getting stuck in the mud, the Winters that will force you to eat each other, and the occasional Native American or random person who will shoot at you.” Well, they didn’t exactly say that. They painted a picture powerful enough to get people to endure all of that other stuff. What was the trade network in ancient times other than a Social Media network? “Here, you give me those really nice seashells and in return I can give you this pottery for the low low price of 18 blankets!”
Advertising as executed by an agency or a firm (I like using the word firm) has undergone numerous changes just during my ridiculously short lifetime. When I was a kid, I’d visit my dad’s office and, sadly, “play” office. The huge set of markers back where the designers wee always fascinated me. Now, of course, there are computers and programs like Illustrator. Major revolutionary change. Now, “advertising” has been consigned to just print and online ads, but a) those aren’t dead and b) advertising is evolving into a word-of-mouth, person-to-person kind of thing rather than a mass communication tool. Again, only for the very sour does change automatically equate to death.
So please, before you post another blog, another tweet, another article, another Facebook status about how books music advertising direct mail trade shows newspapers myspace facebook twitter and all of us are gonna die…take a chill pill, think how you can view the massive changes in our world in a more positive fashion, and then let me know where you end up.
1st Image by Harrison Keely. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/harrykeely
2nd Image by Crystal Woroniuk. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/cdw0107