Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Turkey sandwich. $4.99.

The human genetic make-up is less than 1/2 of 1% different from that of apes. In other words, our form is so complex that a tiny variation alone can account for our myriad differences.

Further, genetic variation takes millenia to effect. Climate doesn't change on a Tuesday leading to species change on a Wednesday. This sort of causality takes thousands and thousands of years.

That said about every 30 minutes in advertising agencies, in the trade press and in dozens of ad blogs you hear the grand proclamation "this will change everything."

Nothing will change everything. At least not in our lifetimes.

I think about changes in communications like I think about turkey sandwiches. Since the beginning of time if you ran a deli and you bought too much turkey, you put a sign outside of your shop that says "Turkey Sandwich Special--$4.99."

People, since the beginning of time, have evaluated that ad and responded accordingly.

Today's deli owners do not attempt to incite a conversation about turkey sandwiches or any some such. They put a sign in front of their store. Simple.

Signs in front of stores are the essence of advertising.

They've worked since Hector was a pup. And will continue to work.

Despite the mindless chatter that proclaims "everything's changed," nothing has really changed.


bob hoffman said...

Geo: I'm giving a talk next week on "The 3 Most Annoying Trends In Advertising." One of them is "The Thing That Will Change Everything."

Anonymous said...

nothing has changed yet everything is changing. some are not so subtle, like the everyone under 25 uses their smartphone for, how they communicate, how they buy things, make plans, book trips...the basics of communications continue but not in the same way they did before. George, much as we may protest, the 21 century isnt going to be a rerun of the 20th. I appreciate your lament but everything is changing. You work at a digital agency. digital agencies didnt exist when you started out. The ad business is not one that is filled w reverence sep as one gets older. If its about anything its relevance. The days of the Guild are over. The biz will probably evolve in ways that will be cool and ways that will be
irrelevant to you if youre over 25. Bring it on.

george tannenbaum said...

No question, Anon, that devices change.

They will always change.

What I am speaking about are the principles of solid communication.

Those don't change.

Brian Belefant, DGA said...

When I was but a wee copywriter, I managed to get Larry Cadman at Scali, McCabe, Sloves to review my portfolio. He singled out one ad in particular –– one I was particularly proud of the word play in –– and asked, "What are you trying to say here?" When I told him, he said, "Then why don't you just say that?"

The lightbulb went on and before long, I was working as a copywriter at Scali.

At the time, the agency had a reputation for being insanely creative. Actually, all we did was find the truth and then say it.

I don't know whether it was Ed McCabe, Larry Cadman, or somebody else at the agency, but somebody there is credited with having said, "When you have the cure for cancer, you're not going to write a headline that says, 'Hey, guess what we've got.'"

george tannenbaum said...

Bob, I wish I could hear your talk.

Someday, I hope.


Anonymous said...

Do you know the origin of the phrase "since Hector was a pup"? I worked through college in a warehouse. I heard my boss say that a lot and I picked it up. Everytime I use it, everyone looks at me funny.

Sorry for such an off-topic question.

Anonymous said...

The principles change when the audience is so illiterate or ADD rattled that they can't/won't pay attention and either want to be hit over the head or just entertained. Just my two cents.