Want To Remake Marketing? Watch The River Flow.

Adrian Ho of Zeus Jones is a planner, a.k.a. one who thinks deep thoughts, and increasingly shares them via the interwebs.

As postmodernism tore apart the traditional hierarchies and relationships I had been brought up with, I felt a strong need to create new ones. To tie things back together into a new story, to help make sense of the world again.
I think this sense of feeling adrift was quite widespread. One of the books that I felt captured this phenomenon very accurately was The Protean Self. I haven’t read it for a long time, but the main thesis was that one reason for the resiliency of humans is our ability to become very fluid and adapt to “dislocations” by re-creating ourselves rather than by trying to recreate our world.
Rather than attempting to weave together a new story or structure to explain the world, I think we have all become more adaptable, more fluid and less concerned with structure and hierarchy. This is one of the defining characteristics of Generation Y and it has led to the mashup culture that we all experience today.
Marketing has created more meaningless structures than most disciplines in its attempt to disguise what is essentially a creative discipline as a “scientific” one. To me progress starts by tearing these apart and allowing the relationships between the various concepts we use to be more fluid and more dynamic.

I’m trying to think what this means in a practical sense. Does it mean copywriters are now free to write plans and planners are free to write copy? I suppose. There must be thousands of applications for this new and improved fluidity.



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.