It doesn't matter if it's on TV or if it's on the Internet or if its carved into the surface of the moon…bad, boring advertising is still bad, boring advertising. If people like your idea, they will embrace it, and they will spread it around. The recent success of Saturday Night Live's short "Lazy Sunday" seems to prove this well enough. While SNL has been terrible for a few years, and most people have written it off lately, this one sketch about two guys rapping about going to see Narnia was put onto the Internet by people who liked it, and then it spread around like wildfire. I've heard from people who have access to this kind of data say that SNL's ratings have shot up astronomically because of this sketch's success online. That's a testiment to the power of today's consumer. If people like your content, they will put it where it will be seen, and it will be there legitimately, rather than forced in like a silly corporate myspace profile. I think that while the future of ads will involve creativity in placement, in the long run its going to be much more about having good ideas and interesting content, much like it's always been. The difference is going to be that consumers are going to have the power to decide if your ad lives or dies. Double true.
Ever since all of this outrage over a cartoon depicting Muhammad has broken out all over the Middle East, I've been trying to think about anything at all that me or anyone I know would be so angered over if put into cartoon form. I can't think of anything. I wonder what that says about our society … and I wonder what it says about their society. Maybe its true that nothing is sacred anymore in the West. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
After noting the steady downward trend in the quality of movies hitting the multiplexes for the past couple of years, it's my guess that planning might be the direct culprit. Maybe they don't call themselves planners, and maybe instead of saying it was planning, maybe I should say it's bad planning. I can only imagine that these major studios have hired some kind of research goons to figure out how to make a buck by making the movie that John Q. America wants to see. I can almost visualize the questionnaire that certainly would have questions like:
On a scale of 1-5, what makes your loins tingle at the movies:
From these kinds of things, you can tell what a consumer thinks that they like, but honestly, most people don't know what they would like. Henry Ford once said "If I asked the consumer what they wanted, they would've asked for a faster horse." There are a lot of planners that would take offense to that quote, but it's true, and I think it's what truly separates planning from research. Digging up data is easy, anyone can learn to do it. Digging up data and then coming up with intriguing ideas is where the meat of the discipline lies. In my limited experience I've found that at their most useful planners are idea people … and at their least useful, planners are just researchers. Anyways, if this is actually taking place in the movie industry, I hope they get their act together soon. I like going to the movies.
There is an article on CNN.com about these two billionaire investors and their thoughts on various oil price scenarios. After I read the article, it reminded me of a conversation that I had with my sister a week or so after hurricane Katrina. What would happen to society if oil suddenly became so scarce and expensive that it wasn't possible to continue its everyday use? Would suburbs continue to exist but turn into self sufficient villages around larger cities? Would there be a panic and mass exodus to the big cities? Would science be able to find a suitable replacement in time before society collapsed? Maybe society wouldn't collapse at all, but watching New Orleans deteriorate into a war zone in less than a week didn't give me much hope.
Of course all of this is completely uneducated speculation…and probably a little silly.