Years ago, I mean back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, I picked up some freelance for the digital arm of a vaunted creative agency. This was in the early days of the digital revolution--to be honest, I might have gotten this work before I had ever even been online.
In any event, I was talking about it with a wise friend of mine. And he issued this proclamation (most of my wise friends are adept at issuing proclamations.) "The problem with the internet," he said "is that there's no hierarchy. All information is equal."
While today, fifteen years later, my wise friend would probably temper his statement, I still think he's not far from wrong. Information tumbles out onto you from the internet. There's no front and back. There's no real organization.
Worse, the internet, it seems to me, is affecting the way humans attempt to organize information when we're not online. Everything is a jumble. Stories are told without beginning, middle and end. Crescendos and climaxes come and go like smiles and handshakes. 75-page powerpoint decks, pitches, big meetings are put together without thought of a story-line.
It's au courant of course to say things like "our business is about story-telling." But then we rush people along so we lose the pace of the story, the time it takes to develop one properly. That's because the internet has trained us to expect 1.7 million results in .003 seconds.
Lately--well actually for about the past three years--I have been looking for a commercial written by Jim Durfee about 45 years ago. The visual action was simple. There was a spokesman with an inflated balloon with the word Avis written on it. As the spokesperson deflated the balloon in stages he refuted each of Avis' claims and asserted Hertz's superiority. Finally when the balloon was as limp as an eel on valium, the announcer said something like "I'm sorry we had to do that in public."
It was as perfect a commercial, an argument, a story as I have ever seen. It took 60 seconds to tell. And I've remembered it all these years.