Makers Of Media, Please Stand And Identify Yourselves

It was fortunate that Ad Age had a reporter in place to hear Ted McConnell, general manager-interactive marketing and innovation at Procter & Gamble Co. speak at a Nov. 15 forum on digital media presented by the Ad Club of Cincinnati
Let’s examine his radical humanist point of view:

Mr. McConnell pointed to the drumbeat of complaints about social networks being unable to monetize their sites. “I have a reaction to that as a consumer advocate and an advertiser,” he said. “What in heaven’s name made you think you could monetize the real estate in which somebody is breaking up with their girlfriend?”
He went on to apply a similar standard to the broader world of consumer-generated media. “I think when we call it ‘consumer-generated media,’ we’re being predatory,” he said. “Who said this is media? Media is something you can buy and sell. Media contains inventory. Media contains blank spaces. Consumers weren’t trying to generate media. They were trying to talk to somebody. So it just seems a bit arrogant. … We hijack their own conversations, their own thoughts and feelings, and try to monetize it.”

There’s something incredibly refreshing here. People are people first, then they’re customers and/or members of a desired demographic. However, there could also be a hint of elitism. A citizen of our technically enabled democracy can certainly make media, intentionally and otherwise.
Of course, I’m thinking of “media” in looser, McLuhanian terms. He said media is an extension of man, which leaves it pretty open.



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.