Life During Media Arts Time

“Transmit the message, to the receiver
hope for an answer some day” -David Byrne

Media Arts & Disruption, a TBWA\ blog, kindly offers up Lee Clow’s philosophy on the state of the ad game today. Or “media arts” game, as the case may be.
It’s a short but stimulating read. For instance, here’s one key paragraph:

I also believe that we can’t treat people as consumers anymore. They have already become audiences. They expect to be surprised and entertained. They mesh, mash, tune in or ignore what they want. So brands first need to capture people’s attention – today’s generations grew up with off and skip buttons. We must understand this entire shift – as both an art and a science. I’m challenging TBWA\ to understand, brand by brand, how people are using media across their lives. It changes the opportunities we serve up to clients. It changes the ways brands should behave in culture. It means we match audience behaviors to media opportunities and make media ideas the creative ideas themselves.

I tend to think of a consumer and a member of the audience as the same thing. But Clow’s arguing against that. I suppose it has to do with intent. A consumer intends to buy, but an audience member, having already paid the price of admission in some way, intends to be entertained or made to feel at home.
One thing that has not changed for Clow, nor the rest of us, is the need to “capture people’s attention.” We have more means for doing so than ever before, but “media opportunities” do not equal “media ideas.” Media ideas, like all ideas, have to be relevant and highly appealing, or they will be invisible.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.