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Subject: UKNM: How Long (A Piece of String)
From: Tim Ireland
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 17:45:43 GMT

How Long (A Piece of String)

After the whole 'creative' debate (based quite ironically on banner
advertising) I thought I would share this quote with you from Jeffrey
Robinson's book 'The Manipulators':

"As purveyors to the uncertainties of any art form, the men and women who
run today's advertising agencies - no longer the creative types but,
instead, managers and accountants and lawyers - have been confronted with
these inevitable truths: that they cannot yet manage the quantum leap from
making us salivate to making us buy; that it won't happen until something
comes along to move them closer towards some quantifiable science; that
until someone invents a magic black box with lots of shiny buttons which
they can push to trigger in us uncontrollable urges to buy things - stuff we
didn't plan on buying, or didn't know we wanted to buy, or, in fact, never
wanted to buy at all - there is little else to do but globalize (sic)."

Staggering to think this book was published in *1998* without making the
connection (no pun intended), but there you go...

The very idea that creativity can do anything for banner advertising bar
stem the bleeding is naive I will admit, therefore I can see the point(s)
brought up about 'cost Vs. value' etc. - BUT the discussion does cough up
some rather unpalatable gristle.

Why is banner advertising given any value? Apart of course from the fact it
is something we can quickly attach a price (and statistics) to...

This 'little black box' provides so many ways of intercepting the consumer
and prompting them to buy something they normally wouldn't - and yet the
banner remains the top generative 'purchase'. Much noise is made about the
inordinate costs of 'creative', but I would point out most of these guys
work freelance because of the shift in the industry that put managers and
accountants (and now programmers) on the payroll in their place. It is the
re-selling of this skill that makes it impracticable - and not just for
economic reasons. For it to work creativity has to again be seen as a
valuable part of the machine, and not merely a component.

Even the suggestion that their current workforce could be explored for
creative talent got a cool reception from many - are they worried this force
will rise again, merely to revive the ponytail and sniff up the profits?

The most malleable tool in the history of mass media develops before our
very eyes. While it remains in flux (and that won't be for long)
opportunities exist not just to exploit it, but to shape it. However this
requires lateral thinkers to try new things, be it a Java programmer with a
new application or a 'creative' with a new tactic. Sadly, at the moment,
none of this will reach the clients - they are being sold media time with a
1% click-through.



Tim Ireland
tim [dot] iatvirgin [dot] net
"Who needs rhetorical questions?"

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