Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Yesterday I participated in an online symposium which allowed college advertising students to ask agency veterans like myself some questions about the industry, about getting started and about whatever else was on was on their minds.

One thing really stood out more than anything else: Basics matter.

The symposium employed google+ technology. 40 of the scheduled 60 minutes were marred by technical difficulties. The basics weren't right. (By the way, in America, roughly 125 years after electricity was adapted for home use, millions of people from Ohio to Virginia are without power. For nearly a week. All due to a minor storm.) The basics aren't right.

Toward the end of the question and answer sessions, the panelists were asked "with all the technology in the world, with the changing media landscape etc. what will be the biggest change in advertising over the next 20 years."

I answered first. And I think definitively.

I believe that 99% of all clients don't know or can't articulate what it is they sell or what they do. Regardless of channel, regardless of bits and bytes, our job is to clarify and organize a client's reason for being.  To say what they do, why they do it and why it is important.

There are all kinds of "likes" we can attempt to garner. We can put them on the latest, greatest and coolest. That's all fine.

But none of it makes a difference if you don't get the basics right.

Right now I am listening to the news on an L.A. station of National Public Radio, so I get in addition to national and world news, local California news.

California is in the throes of a $17 billion state budget deficit. And there is a story about the state banning foie gras unless it can be produced cruelty-free. I don't hate animals. But it would seem to me the state may have bigger things to worry about than the livers of geese.

Again. Basics.

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