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You see whilst this area of marketing/communications is currently one of the ‘buzz words’ of the industry – with many organisations treating it like the 2nd coming of Christ – I have quite an alternate view to the discipline.
My view is that ‘experiential marketing’ is one of the earliest forms of marketing, not one of the newest.
Sure, what many companies now do with experiential marketing is cutting edge interms of building/forging brand connections with existing/potential consumers – however for me it still originates from a time where town markets were the local shopping centre and traders had to be experts in “passer-by engagement“ to ensure they created a sales opportunity.
I know by that reckoning, I’m saying Town Criers were the RSS News Readers of their day – but it’s just systematic of an industry trying desperately to reinvent itself and yet continually failing to let go of the past.
As many of you know, last week I spoke at the World Effies and what bothered me was that I came across so many ‘executives’ who were openly advocating the ‘good ol’ ways and days’ of advertising.
OK, so there are many elements of the past that are still relevant and important – but to openly celebrate 1950’s process’ for communication is somewhat alarming given we’re in the year two thousand and fucking eight!
Actually I do a disservice to that era of advertising because as I said in my presentation, they were far more inventive than many agencies are today – which is why I believe the industry is actually devolving and choosing to ignore the signs because they don’t want to damage their carefully maintained illusion of self-importance .
Of course not every person/agency is in this situation – infact given more and more big, global business is being given to agencies like WK and Crispin it’s actually an exciting time to be a part of the industry – however if you’re working in a conservative multi-national agency, I believe it won’t be too long before you are faced with a fundamental decision about your career: do you want to make things happen or simply execute someone else’s ideas.
I should point out this division between ‘old and new’ [or should I say passive/active] thinking has nothing to do with age – it’s totally about mindset – which is why I’m sure that in 10 years time, the same conferences will have the same people spouting the same debates about “How do we get paid for our ideas” whereas everyone else will either be yawning or getting on with it.
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