The brief about a viral video. The request for a LinkedIn strategy. The need to be on Twitter. POV’s about location-based marketing. What about Quora? What’s the strategy for the iPhone app? Are you done with the iPad strategy?
Brands and agencies: We’re all guilty
Marketing and advertising should be about making the product/service we’re trying to sell look good. The lightning fast speed of technology change has led to this bizarre reality that we’re trying to fit our product/service to the technology. To make the technology look good.
Brands and agencies are trying to top the competition all the time. That’s their job. We’re all tasked to come up with new and innovative ideas. But, somehow, everybody just focuses on the “new and innovative” part. And we have forgotten the idea part.
We chase the newest and innovative platform and tool because “new and innovative” equals technology. The latest garage venture, the latest tool that has some traction because you need to be first. Whoever is first on the platform gets all the PR, the calls from Ad Age and NY Times, the brownie points.Deep inside we know that our definition of “new and innovative” is too incremental to make a real dent. To move the needle. Since everybody is doing the same thing, because that little early adopter advantage disappears in a heartbeat. Chasing technology has become our idea.
That’s why Foursquare is now littered with useless promotions. Facebook with pages nobody cares about. Twitter with feeds nobody reads. YouTube with videos nobody every watched. Second Life, well…
Let’s stop building “The Homer”.
“The Homer” has two bubble domes; one in the front, while the one in the back is for quarreling kids, and comes with optional restraints and muzzles. The engine sound causes people to think “the world’s coming to an end.” There are three horns, as Homer claims that “you can never find a horn when you’re mad.” The three horns play the song “La Cucaracha.” Last but not least, the car features shag carpeting, tailfins and a metal bowler as a hood ornament.
Homer had no clue what he was doing. He just came up with a list of features, things he would like to have. Because he always wanted to have them. Or because nobody had them yet. Just like the kitchen sink brief you received yesterday. Or the kitchen sink memo that you’re preparing for your employees tight now.
The technology looks so bright and shiny because our ideas are often so stale and superficial. That’s why people can distinguish between platforms. But they have no clue which product or service ran an ad/campaign or initiative. Because the ideas are meant to fit the technology. It needs to be the other way around.