Every now and then I look back into my archives to see if anything in the media world has changed. I found something I wrote in 2001 and indeed the media world has changed significantly but the ad industry not so much.
In both cases the mindset of both has pretty much remained the same.
Bear with my preamble, but this is the conclusion I came to then and to which I come today.
“I can’t remember what it was that grabbed my mental processes by the short and curlies and led in them toward the notion of our media and advertising industries being populated by wimps. I know I had this impromptu crack of dawn Sunday rendezvous with James Clarke and Jos Kuper in a field next to Joburg’s northern sewage works after we’d given up searching for an elusive species of LBJ that gets its jollies off frolicking about in human waste.
“Perhaps though, it had nothing to do James or Jos – other than my propensity to name drop – that actually prompted me to think of media and ad wimps but rather the fact that we were downwind of those huge propellor-driven settling tanks one finds on sewage farms. Shit stirrers, I guess they call them.
“Yes, that’s what probably got me thinking about media and advertising. It certainly makes sense.
“But it wasn’t. It was actually a few days later and an email from someone trying to drum up some publicity for a brand competition by suggesting it would be a nice break from the ‘nasty cutthroat’ business we live in. That’s what pushed my aggro button.
“The media and ad world are hardly nasty and far from cutthroat. In fact, everyone is far too polite. Ad agencies don’t stand up to their clients but kowtow to crap instead of creativity. Media owners live in awe of media buyers and never question, except to each other, the way in which millions of Rands are spent by hugely inexperienced teenage media planners whose combined conventional wisdom vis-à-vis media consumption is eating slap chips out of newspaper.
“And older, wiser, media buyers who whinge like hell to everybody except media owners about the lack of quality and all sorts of other faux pas that have resulted in lower circulations, viewerships and listenerships and higher, less affordable, ad rates.
“Quite frankly, for a bunch of people who are supposed to be communications experts, the media and ad people are making a right royal cock of it when it comes to straight talking among themselves.”
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Chris Moerdyk (@chrismoerdyk ) is a marketing analyst and advisor and owner of Moerdyk Marketing with many years of experience in marketing and the media as well as serving as non-executive director and chairman of companies.
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