Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The 11-day rule.

Many years ago two women who were creative partners worked for me. One of them was being promoted and the other wasn't. The woman who was being promoted was worried that the other woman, her friend, would be angry at her. What I told her then has since grown into a rule of mine.

Most upsets, whether they involve minor things like moving offices, a change in the format of a magazine, a new job or whether they represent a major global happening, stay in the front of your brain for a maximum 11 days.

When Facebook changes its format, people bitch and moan for about 11 days. When you get a new job, that "I'm new here feeling" lasts about 11 days. Even when you get a new haircut, the "news" of it (even if it was a radical change) will be over in about 11 days.

I would bet that in just about nine days from now the news of bin Laden's capture and execution will be off the front pages, "back with the shipping news," in the words of Preston Sturges. Just as perhaps the greatest environmental disaster in recorded history quickly faded into the distant past.

Russell Baker, a Pulitzer-prize winning columnist who wrote for "The New York Times" some decades ago called the news "the olds." Because nothing lasts long enough to get old.

Most companies that advertise and most agencies that serve them do not acknowledge the power of "news" and on-going "newness" in advertising. Instead they chug along talking about themselves and hope you notice.

And if they do recognize the power of news, they don't understand how quickly news passes.

11 days.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

most advertising passes like a ship at night, to borrow a phrase from D.O. It's even truer today than when he uttered it. And he was never a hipster mind you.