I recently wrote about the Fast Company Future of Advertising article in Challenging Conventional Thinking and Forbes has a follow-up piece interviewing advertising students about what they think about the future of advertising.
It's interesting, I spend a lot of time with college students and frequently what I hear from agencies about what college students are doing is at odds with what my students tell me they are doing. When the industry was talking about how the future of advertising is Second Life, the majority of the students I taught didn't even know what it was. Just recently, I've been asking my students about their use of things like Twitter & Foursquare, and many of them aren't using either.
So what did these students see as the future of advertising?
Maybe I've just been looking at the future of advertising for a long time (I started exploring how VR would change the business back in '91), or maybe I'm just cynical about the ad biz. But did the students really say anything that you haven't heard hundreds of times, at meetings, industry events and hallway chatter all over the industry? It's good that they see a bright future and are enthusiastic about working in the ad business, but there's little new and actionable here.
Don't get me wrong. Nothing energizes me more then teaching and talking to students. I would love to teach full time just to be in that energy flow. As I've said for years, even with clients you love, you still spend most of your day overcoming "no." With students, they're always asking why not. It's a very positive place to be.
I say quite frequently that the ad industry is sometimes too in love with the shiny bauble, the newest, latest thing. But too often it's not about experimenting to try new things, it's just jumping on the bandwagon, so that someone can say "Look, we're cool too." And too often, in the rush to follow the new, we forget about the basics. That it's about creating compelling, authentic and relevant brand experiences. That's it's about companies that make good products and treat their customers and employees well. That's pretty hard to do.
It's important for the ad industry to take stock of what it does and how it works. It's important to listen to new, young voices and see how they can help us reenergize the advertising business. But let's not throw away the industry because new technologies are available. We've had these conversations every time a new tool has entered the industry.
Image by: gtrwndr87