Way back in 1974 I attended a conference where a well-known agency head jumped up on a table, started shaking his arms in the air, and said, “Advertising is really simple. You will remember me doing this for the rest of your life. This is what advertising is all about. It’s as simple as breaking through the clutter.”
He was right, at least he was in 1974. For the next 25 years of my career, everything was based on the idea we needed to say something that would break through the clutter. And if we couldn’t figure out how to say it well, we would just find the money to say it again and again and again.
Now it’s not enough to just say something well or loudly. With customers controlling the conversation, now brands need to do something meaningful. The things we do well will be shared by our champions, and the things we do poorly will be repeated endlessly by our detractors. This has always been true. But now technology has amplified these voices to the point where they really matter.
So now we spend all of our time trying to figure out what our clients can do to delight customers in new and unexpected ways. I used to be in advertising. Now I do things.