Early in my career, I had to break down and buy a decent pair of dress pants for meetings. I walked out of a prominent men’s store the proud owner of a pair of pleated wool trousers. But not just pleated, or even double pleated: those beauties were triple pleated. Further, the pleats were inverted. Yes, for that brief moment in the era of Crockett and Tubbs, I owned it.
Of course in today’s flat-fronted times, such effusively-extravagant bunching of fabric around a male waist ranks as only slightly less abysmal on the “I’ve Quit Trying” fashion scale than say a home made Snuggie. Because fashions change in dizzying, arbitrary ways, and that sometimes costs you a pair of perfectly functional pants.
Changing fashions apply to our business as well. Reviewing my TV reel, anyone can chart my forays into Morphing Mania, the Tony Scott Chocolate Filtered Phase, the CG-Enhanced Animals Era, the ‘I Loved Napoleon Dynamite‘ Period…
Today however, fashion whims extend beyond the obvious realm of advertising creativity to advertising’s less obvious creative realm of media and platforms. Today’s new thinkers denounce the time-honored Interruptive advertising model as hopelessly dated, a relic of an earlier era of one way communication. And to a certain extent, I agree. Newer notions of Brand Alignment or Brand Bridging that seek to create contextual empathy with consumers as they connect them to or affiliate them with our brands seem much more forward-thinking and thus earn millions of words in industry press and blogs. We need to encourage this kind of innovation, to re-imagine where and when and how we can engage consumers in meaningful ways. Often, this calls for the greatest acts of creativity in our workday.
But unlike the rigid world of haute couture, where the ‘in’ stands rigidly defined and the ‘out’ lies hopelessly marginalized, most advertisers should avoid sweeping judgments. Because like it or not, old fashioned or not, irritating or not…the interruptive model still works. Television still works. Radio still works. Transit posters still work. The old interruptive model even works in new media iterations like pre-rolls and page take-overs. As do new platforms like social networking and experience marketing.
Opinion leaders in advertising need agendas, they require outspoken, inflamed ideologies to champion. Such ivory tower conceits draw readers and fill seminar seats. But practically speaking, down in the actual trenches of commerce, in our imperfect workaday world that lies thick with the muck of situational decision-making and budgets compromised on both time and money, we don’t face an either/or decision regarding ad models; it’s both/and. Just like we don’t face an either/or decision regarding creative mediums; it too is both/and.
It’s convergence. These days, it’s all convergence.
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79