Swim Against The Tide At Your Own Peril

Clay Shirky was astounded by the throwback thinking he found in James Gleick’s opinion piece on the long term value of publishing printed objects, a.k.a. books.

Businesses don’t survive in the long term because old people persist in old behaviors; they survive because young people renew old behaviors, and all the behaviors young people are renewing cluster around reading, while they are adopting almost none of the behaviors tied to cherishing physical containers, whether for the written word or anything else. Can you imagine a 25-year-old telling a publisher “To get my business, you should stick to a single, analog format? Oh, and could you make it heavy, bulky, and unsearchable? Thanks.”

That first bit above sounds like a message for the ad industry (or any industry). Are the young ad turks busy renewing old behaviors? If by that one means clearing new paths for people to connect with brands, then yes, I believe they are.



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.