Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What this is all about.

As Billy Preston (above) asked a few years ago,
Will it go round in circles
Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky

What's happening in the world right now, what's been happening in Detroit for four decades, what's been happening on Madison Avenue for the past two--is all the same.

The key people in the above entities have failed to see. Failed to break what Adam Morgan calls "the dominant complacency." Have, instead, tried to "optimize" dead business models, like an alcoholic tries to get one more drop from an empty bottle.

Oh, I won't give you Marxism this morning. Nothing about rattling a stick in the swill pot of civilization, but I will tell you this. Entities rise to the point of their own collapse.

Let's talk about the advertising industry. But don't think about agency names for a second, think about Starbucks. While life is good--while the bubble is inflating--there's a Starbucks on every corner. Pop! There's goes another one. When you walk by an empty storefront in your neighborhood, you hope that something authentic opens up, god forbid, a hobby shop, a sporting goods store or a place to get a really well-made hot fudge sundae, instead, it's a Starbucks. Same with agencies. The InterOmniPubliPees have acquired and propped up agencies chain stores. And, except for a couple, they all sell an identical product and provide identical services. There's no need for all those stores. So they start selling things half-price. Then they consolidate.

Then they all collapse together.

This is what is happening in the world right now. And it's, historically, what's always happened. We go from abject gloom if not despair to recovery. Throw a pinch Kubler-Ross in about now. So from crash to gloom to glimmer to stasis to hope to optimism to success to avarice to crash and over again.

The only question is how long it will take to go from gloom to glimmer, ie from trying to resuscitate the old to trying to build something new.

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