the future of advertising

From broadcasting to narrow casting, to social listening, to engagement, the list of empty terms is endless. As online advertising becomes mainstream and new media become old and challenged, the struggle to find the new thing becomes excruciating, almost ridiculous.

In situations like this it's always a good idea to keep it simple. Don't think tomorrow or next year. Instead, think 5 or 10 years from now. What do you see?

Well, you can choose to see a world where advertising is everywhere, a linear extension of today:

-Dominating all the media.
-Watching our every movement.
-Sending us highly targeted, even subliminal messages to create Pavlovian conditioned reflexes.
-Making us do things against our better judgment.

In this world all of us gradually sell out, using our own social networks to advertise to our friends, getting benefits and freebies in return.

It's a world where everything is free, but (alas) we still have to "pay" for everything.

And then again we can choose to imagine a different future:

1) A world where bad products have already gone the way of the dodo due to efficient, highly targeted advertising; nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.

2) A time where agencies and brands have come to the conclusion that in order to survive and meet consumer needs they need to innovate and change their business models; forget retainers and create products and platforms with common ownership and shared equity.

3) A future where advertising stops being a separate layer only created to promote a product; instead it becomes an organic part of the DNA of the product. It adds meaning.

I like that idea. It's not linear and it makes me feel better about the future.

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Awesome Storytelling

There is story telling. And then there is story telling. Compelling. Fresh. Surprising. Experiential.
As a father of a 5 year old, I have come to appreciate the fine art of telling stories. Sometimes it’s hard to even get started. Where do I begin to tell a story? And then how do I gradually seduce someone to a story that I am making up as I go? And finally, how do I wrap it up without betraying their expectations?
Not an easy task. Even more difficult when the audience has doubts about your skills or your creds. Imagine being a parent telling a story to a bunch of teenagers. Or even worse, imagine being a teacher. Or how about being a policeman.

Hopeless right?

But then story telling is an art and it can even make policemen look good if used right. Which is probably what happens with the Metropolitan Police of London.

Choose your own ending is a fine example of story telling. Interactive. Experiential. Fresh. Immediate. Contextually relevant. Powerful. I might change the ending of some of the endings, but I still dig the idea, especially when I think about the countless hours that I have spent convincing my clients to take smaller initiatives. Awesome.