Something has happened in the world and I suppose I’m somewhat responsible since it probably started with my generation. Growing up in “The Era When Everything Changed,” my generation rejected everything that came before it. In the classroom, we clamored only for things that we deemed “relevant.” I remember a wood-paneled seminar room at Columbia University when one of my fellow graduate students said this about Shakespeare to a distinguished professor of English: “Me and Billy boy don’t jive.” No, I am not making it up. I am using it as an extreme example of the wholesale expurgation of all things hallowed as meaningless, dated and therefore somehow irrelevant.
This attitude pervades the advertising industry today. You might be working for a financial services company that (like most businesses) caters to the affluent. Invariably a bunch of “body-art-acolytes” will burn thirty-two thousand hours talking about twitter and how to make something that should be thoughtful, intelligent and deep shallow, irrelevant and cool.
Cool is not a strategy. Often times it's not even in the ballpark.
As I said in a previous post, I am re-reading Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” right now. I guarantee that 99 44/100s of the people in the world would think I’m reading something esoteric and irrelevant as opposed to something essential and important. Not because they have read it and rejected it but because it was written before 2007 and doesn't involve vampires.