Thursday, December 2, 2010

What if?

I'm 37,000 feet up in the air and I was having a digital conversation with a Linked In acquaintance who became a Facebook friend and who now seems on the verge of becoming a real friend.

What we were talking about was the failure of the Web as an advertising medium. The "10 Best" online campaigns recently selected by The One Club didn't have one piece of work that actually built a brand. Not one.

The brands in question were built on print and TV. Period.

What occurred to me while my new-found friend and I were chatting was this: the web has been called a designer's media. Design and interaction design drives it. Writers for the web often seem as important as tailors in a nudist colony.

What if we've been doing it all wrong?

What if we tried doing work that understands that words can have impact? Meaning. Power. Importance.

Statements can make a statement.

Messages can be the message.

Substance can be substantial.

Function can follow function.

Many of us are complicit in propagating well-designed sameness (if it looks like everything else, is it well-designed?) and that, simply and plainly, hasn't worked.

Maybe it's time to try something different.


Tim said...

Great point. Our industry has swung out of balance (it's good at that). Back when we were kids, the designer had to slip his ideas under the door of the copy writer. And we got ads like the aspirin spot of the cartoon head getting hit with the hammer. Then the golden age came along where the two actually collaborated. It was too good to last. Now the designers run the show and it's navel gazing all around. Nothing works on me quicker than a good headline. Ans I'm an art director!

Anonymous said...

If it's a "designer's medium," how come almost all the "design" on the Web sucks bigtime?

I'm a writer, and I've learned more by osmosis working with great art directors than the average putative Web designer knows.

The ads I make in a pinch using Pages look a lot better than their crap.

Not to put too fine a point on it.

-Robert Chandler
Los Angeles

Unknown said...

Furthermore, aside from r/ga being on the list with a number of Nike executions very few of the agencies were what one would define as digital. They were mostly general shops, or their digital departments. So what happened to all those specialist digital agencies that were bout to take over the world?
Actually, the cleverest digital shops today realize that they can't remain specialists in the technology as such but will have to master brand building as well. Whether that takes classic TV, radio, print, outdoor etc.