Friday, June 19, 2020

Is it called Media because it's rarely well-done? Or Medea, because it eats its young?

About ten years ago, the great headhunter and all-around sage of recruitment, Christie Cordes gave me a stern talking to. I’d say she “dressed me down,” but in today’s hyper-sensitive ethnology, such a phrase could get me in hot water.

Christie upbraided me because I was looking for a job and to her eyes I was going about it all wrong. I had always gotten a job on the basis of my portfolio and assumed that my portfolio was all that mattered. Christie disabused me of that hoary notion.

She pushed me to treat my LinkedIn profile like an advertisement for myself. At that point I was not even posting my Ad Aged posts on LinkedIn. That was too self-promoting and ego-centric for me. Christie swatted me over the head with a metaphorical tennis racket.

“You have to, George. You have to make a name for yourself for people to even deign to take a look at your portfolio.”

I resisted, of course. I resist almost everything. But Christie explained it this way and that convinced me.

“Your LinkedIn is the 30-second movie trailer. Your portfolio is the movie. No one will see the movie if there’s no trailer.”

Not long ago, Christie and I had another amiable set-to. She smashed my noggin once again with her metaphorical racket.

“George, get on Twitter,” she demanded. “It’s how people shop. If you’re interesting on Twitter, they’ll look you up on LinkedIn. Then, they’ll find your portfolio and you.”

Again, I resisted. Partly because of our thumbalina-brained presi-dont, I stayed off of Twitter. At that point, I had 96 followers. 87 of those were Nigerian princes who needed my bank account number in order to give me $17 million.

But, before too much time elapsed, I succumbed and listened to Christie. It’s two-months later now, and I’m zeroing in on 2,000 followers. I realize that ain’t a lot and I have a long way to go, but it’s still 19 times better than I was 60 days ago.

All this is, obtusely, leading up to something.

We’re in advertising. And we have to advertise ourselves.

Again, without being too much of a dipshit about it, I’ve begun to learn how to do that. Advertise for myself.

For much of my life, media buying and advertising itself has been based on the notion of reach and frequency. You reach the right people and you repeat your message until they “get it.” Most of the slogans that we remember today—and we each carry around probably 50 or 100 such shards, are based on the efficacy of reach and frequency.

However, in writing nearly 6,000 posts, I’ve realized something. Maybe in today’s world of marketing, reach and frequency is wrong. Sometimes I feel like I have more interaction with Jan the Toyota woman or Flo the Progressive woman or Dapper Dan from Dapper Dan’s Dented Deals than I have with my wife. I’m bored with them.

Their frequency reminds me frequently how much I dislike them and the companies they’re shilling for.

I wonder if what modern brands need today is instead “reach and freshitude.” Something smart, fresh, funny, comforting. As opposed to merely repeating something I hated the first time I saw it and bludgeoning me into liking it because I’m used to it.

Gary V is everywhere on line and he frequently has new “content.” But I find the low calibre of his work distressing, unappealing and annoying. He’s frequent but not fresh. I find his messages platitudinous and grating. Ugly.

Years ago, back in the early 2000s, Chris Wall used to howl that advertising had to be more like journalism in order to stay relevant. We had to be smart, fast and good. Maybe I was the only one who heard this.

Chris is gone now—and now it takes an “agile” agency with a “dedicated team” being guided by a lean six sigma project manager eleven weeks to produce a banner ad or write a tweet.

I dunno.

I was kicked out of the ad industry like a hood caught smoking reefer in the men’s room of Hannibal Hamlin Technical High School for Troublemaking Truants.

But somehow I’ve been able to write over an ad a day for myself for over 5,000 days and gain a weekly readership of nearly 70,000 ad people including the stray CEO and the like. I’m going all in with “reach and freshitude.” It's what I want. Why wouldn't others?

Besides, it can’t be worse than what the industry does today.

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