Friday, April 9, 2010

Mass. Mass. Mass.

Years ago when I was coming off a stint at a giant New York agency and about to start at a large San Francisco agency, I visited a small San Francisco agency to say hello to a friend.

While I was at this large NY agency, I produced literally hundreds of ads. In my estimation, and I tend to be hard on myself, the general quality of these ads was good. However, when I saw what they were up to at this small SF agency, I was blown away. Each of the three or four ads they did a year was meticulously and painstakingly handmade.

It occurred to me then and there that there may be two schools of thought. Mass-produced ads vs. handmade ads.

Now, of course in the era of the web we produce thousands and thousands of pages a year. We no longer simply mass produce, we mass mass produce. We can't afford humans to do what used to be human operations like setting type. We outsource such former skills to algorithms.

No real point here. Just a simple observation on the state of affairs.

3 comments:

Jake P. said...

Ergo: Cheap. Cheap. Cheap.

What pains me is the fact that, as with so many other things that are best crafted in small batches (food and music come to mind), increasing numbers of folks have lost the ability to discriminate between the two ends of the spectrum.

It makes me feel old, and I'm not, really.

Tore Claesson said...

"make it cheaper" seems to be the real force today. I haven't worked on even one brief the last 3-4 years where the cost of making the stuff wasn't the most important part of the brief. Cheaper photography, cheaper coding, cheaper editing, cheaper actors, cheaper models, cheaper studio, cheaper location, you name it. As i've also worked in other countries, such as Singapore and China, "make it cheaper" isn't a new concept to me. But now it's everywhere, in everything, and worse than ever. What's extra bothersome is that a campaign that may still cost millions to run in media, only is allowed to cost cents to produce. And crowd sourcing seems more about getting it cheap than getting it great. This willingness to give away all one has for nothing is not helping. As we expect everything on the internet to be free, clients expect agencies to work for free, and agencies expect to pay nothing for talent. This trend has to reverse. It's unsustainable.

Anonymous said...

How much do algorythms get paid?