There’s No There There

Seth Godin hit a nerve with his anti-Vegas rant. I’ve never liked Vegas much. The place seems flimsy and unreal, like a Hollywood set that will be gone tomorrow, after a big dust storm blows it up into Utah.

Las Vegas is an epicenter of a trend that is accelerating through every market and community on Earth.
A rapid increase in dissatisfaction.
If you don’t have enough money, you can fix it by gambling. It’s okay to be dissatisfied with your job and your boss and your income, because someone in Vegas has more, and they got it the easy way. I don’t think it’s an accident that we’ve got record PowerBall prizes and record PowerBall sales.
The problem with this emerging culture, aside from the fact that we’re unhappy all the time, is that it doesn’t give marketers a chance to build products for the long haul, to invest in the processes and products and even operating systems that pay off over time. The problem is that when brands fizz out so fast, it’s hard to invest in anything except building the next hot brand.
Is there an answer?
It seems to me that insulation from discontent comes from building a relationship. Relationships that make us feel counted upon, respected, trusted and valued cut through the ennui of dissatisfaction. We got ourselves into this mess by acting like smart marketers, and as marketers we can get out of it by acting like people.



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.