Listening Is Hard For Anyone, But Terribly Difficult For Big, Broadcast-Centric Brands

Two weeks ago Slate’s Seth Stevenson favorably reviewed Bob Garfield’s new book The Chaos Scenario.
Garfield, a critic in the employ of Ad Age, believes today’s media kings (the one’s that are still standing) are about to fall.

It all portends chaos for the television industry. But Garfield foresees equal tumult in store for the big-time ad agencies. He predicts the gradual demise of the classic, 30-second TV spot, which has been the lifeblood of major agencies for half a century. His prescription: Advertising will need to be less about displaying hip imagery and implanting mood associations and more about interacting with consumers online, analyzing their complaints and desires (as revealed in their blog posts and Web site comments), and providing utilitarian information to those who seek it out.
This approach, which Garfield dubs “listen-omics,” may well turn out to be a more effective method of marketing. But there’s also far less money in it.

Far less money for the people used to making TV wages, I might add. For an entrire class of emerging Web adepts, there’s good money to be made helping brands listen and connect.



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.