Friday, June 10, 2011

The theory of relativity.

At a dinner party, Einstein famously described his theory of relativity this way: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.”

It seems to me we have a serious relativity issue in our business. We don't understand, or recognize, the relative importance and value of the work we create. Depending on where you work, depending on the media in which you work, your agency can spend as many hours and as much people-power discussing the orientation of a scroll bar (should it be horizontal or vertical? I've yet to see a diagonal one) as it will mulling over a national television campaign.

Just as there is very little hierarchy on the web, there is, today, very little hierarchy within agencies. Everything seems equal.

What's really happening within our marketing communications infrastructure is we are having a format civil war, not that much different between the one we had a couple decades ago between VHS and Beta.

Both sides are fighting tooth and nail, propagating the superiority of their world. They disparage the other. They inflate their own importance. There is no honesty, no real sense of relativity.


Tore Claesson said...

VHS won. Not because it was better. Anyway, i agree with you that there seem to be no sense of proportion between problem and time and resources to solve that problem. Unlike VHS and Beta, it's not going to be a winner here. The two sides have to find a model that caters to all aspects of our industry today. Now, of course, while there appears to be a limitless pool of money to spend on essentially meaningless meetings with hordes of people at a shop like yours and with clients the size of yours, i'm at the other end of the spectrum today. We basically produce as much work in a given week. But we can't afford to have meetings for meetings sake, we are forced to make fast decisions because the budgets are miniscule. Last week we photographed, ourselves, in our conference room a collection of clothes on mannequins, we prepared all image, retouch etc. inhouse, we designed the pages of the website and we programmed it. It's an ecommerce site for a fashion brand called improvd. We do this every week. With specials in between. Come and work for peanuts and you won't have to sit in meetings about scrollbars. cheers/t.

Anonymous said...

The horror of what these days is labelled and passed on as progress/evolution will be the end of everything. As long as one labels it like that, it'll always be validated.

This business will never go back to simpler times, it'll only get worse, cause that's "evolution". Everyone's forced onto a bloody blending machine and made to play along, not with creativity and a drive to have better ideas and do better work, but with deadlines, timesheets and ever diminishing wages that always seem proportionally inverse to the ever growing amount of work hours.

We're reaching the point where there are very few people left that remember advertising in different terms, and when those people leave the business, it'll be all over, officially that is, cause in reality, it already is. It's been for a very long while, actually.

I suppose if one starts looking at the Bernbach's and the Ogilvy's, etc, as merely another step of this evolution, things will be slightly more bearable. In the end, human nature seems to thrive for self-combustion and extinction, i don't see why this business would be any different.