Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Some time this year, I will write my 5,000th post on Ad Aged. At 200 words a post, that's one-million words, or 4,000 typewritten pages.

Given that, maybe it's weird that today's post is about editing. 

I think lack of editing is one of the central problems of our time.

We see it certainly from President Cheeto who is a fan of Twitter--the least edited of all media channels. I don't know about you, I find it dispiriting when Clockwork Orange has a tweet with a typo in it. It's sad on so many levels. No one is watching what the man says, not even him. Commentary on huge global problems goes no deeper than spur of the moment brain spasm.

Traditional media had editing built in.

A :30 second TV commercial can't comfortably hold more than 65-70 words--and that's pushing it. A print ad can comfortably accommodate a similar amount--but at some point, the ad appears "hard" and "off-putting."

You can say the same about powerpoint decks. I always think about Hemingway's "Old Man and the Sea." From cover to cover it runs 108 pages. I'm not sure a powerpoint should ever be longer than that. It seems wrong, somehow, disrespectful to Hemingway.

When creative shifts online, editing seems to go out the window. I've seen Christmas videos that last five minutes or more--and talking heads too. I usually say to myself, in that situation, "is watching this worth watching 10 commercials?"
It seems like brands are asking more of viewer than they're likely to give. The same holds true of writing online. It often goes on for hundreds of words.

The Gettysburg address was 272 words, and Marc Anthony's speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, four words short of that.

I think you'd better have something damn important to say if you go beyond that.

I'll stop here.


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