We have all known for some time now that the job title ‘media planner’ is obsolete. Indeed it’s not difficult to construct a reasonable argument to demonstrate that media planning as an advertising discipline is obsolete.
I mean, why pay a media planner who might go out for the occasional long lunch when you can have a pristine algorithm connect the media dots for you. Faster, more accurately and with less emotional or racial bias.
Everything has changed. And #coronavirus #lockdownSA has changed everything.
When it comes to change, how tragically ironic is this piece of content from Independent Media today? A truly compelling and thought-provoking piece of copy and so evocative of our painful past and our equally painful present which continues to mirror the vast divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” on South Africa.
There are just some things that can’t be accurately reflected in SEM speak.
So if everything has changed, with what could we replace the obsolete functional description ‘media planning’? I’ve been advocating ‘content engineering’ for a while now. It speaks to automation and AI while recognising that ultimately when all media platforms and algorithms become ubiquitous, the only significant differentiator becomes content.
Another concept that is obsolete is thinking about cinema as a medium rather than as an activity. Like going to a live sporting event or a shopping mall. This debate received definitive clarity today when Ster Kinekor published a notice advising that they are closing all movie houses until further notice. Cinema may well be the first #coronavirus #media casualty. Quite simply, without the activity the medium dies
Of course that’s not to say that algorithms don’t lose the plot occasionally.
My favourite morning read is The Guardian. It is the archetypal freemium offering and my goodness don’t they valiantly try to navigate the shallow waters of my better self by regularly giving me the option to subscribe. Some of those offers have really resonated with me, but not today.
Today The Guardian appealed to me to upgrade to Premium so that I could access articles like the one below. Apparently somewhere in Australia an astrophysicist has been admitted to hospital after sticking a few magnets up his nose in an effort to find a cure for coronavirus. Let me just think about that, chaps. I’ll get back to you.
Maybe that’s been the bloody problem all along. Too many scientists have been sitting around sticking things up their noses instead of reflecting on what their inventions are actually doing to the world.
Back to the issue of content though. The content piece of the day must however go to Sky News who reported a story of a man in England who defied the lockdown and went on a 224 mile round trip, to collect something he had purchased on eBay, with his wife in the boot. With his wife in the boot! You can’t make this stuff up and its so crazy that it occurs to me that you won’t believe it. So here’s the link.
As I sit back and reflect on this story, with the incredulity I had previously reserved for watching the Springboks playing under Allister Coetzee, it occurred to me that I was perhaps missing being too swift in forming an opinion.
So I leave it to you to be the judge. You can answer here on my blog or on Twitter @Mzansimedia or on Facebook at MullerMedia (@GordonMullerMedia).
The Sky News story of the man who drove 224 miles with his wife in the boot represents:
1] Exemplary social distancing behaviour
2] Gender-based violence
3] The worst case of post coital tristesse ever
4] A previously undiscovered form of romantic attachment
Just don’t try and communicate your answer through my wife though. She is temporarily indisposed.
Gordon Muller is Africa’s oldest surviving media strategist. Author of Media Planning – Art or Science. Mostly harmless! Read his Khulumaedia Blog here.
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