Monday, July 22, 2013

Brand Engorgement

Pretty soon we'll be celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the Internet.

Which means you (well, not my daughters because they're under 20 and they don't read "Daddy's boring blog") and I have been around for every kb of it.

Personally, I have spent a great deal of time on the Internet, probably a lot more than I should have. But as I write for a living, I'm sort of tied to my keyboard. And the keyboard is irresisitibly linked to the web.

But here's the thing, in all those twenty years, I have spent virtually none of it engaged with any brands.


OK, there was one time that VW put out this racing game that could be played on the iPhone or the iPad and I did that for about 5 minutes. But the game was such a poor version of Gran Turismo I dumped it immediately.

I certainly didn't come away from the experience with any greater sense of Farfegnugen. Or any greater appreciation of VW. If anything, I was disappointed. And vowed to never get sucked into any more of this digital nonsense.

My slightly older and wiser colleagues, George Tannenbaum and Bob Hoffman have written passionately on this topic. And because they are better writers than myself, they are able to provide academic proof and literary references that are far above my pay grade.

I speak anecdotally.
Mostly to accommodate my facile thinking.

And as the father of two teenage girls (who are most decidedly in the sweet spot for many of these digitally-obsessed companies) I can attest that they too are equally unimpressed by these brand engagement efforts.

I know because I asked them point blank. They cocked their heads and looked at me the same bewildered way my dog looks at me when I pour a bowl of cereal out of a box.

"Why would we spend time with any of that? That's advertising. Advertising sucks."

Completely oblivious to my line of work or the fact that advertising -- that is the making of advertising -- has paid for every gadget, every morsel of food, every remote control, every shoe and every stick of furniture in the house.

"So what, it still sucks."

If this sentiment ended here, so would this blog posting. But my daughter's friends say the same thing. And so do their friends. There are 1.5 billion videos on Youtube they'll counter, who has time for that?

Which has got me wondering.

I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in ad agencies and on the client side, spending millions of dollars and countless man hours building elaborate digital brand engagement schemes. Everyday we're out there Tweeting and Vining and Instagramming and UXing and HTMLing.

Or as my pal George says, "we're making toys."

The question is, who's playing with them?


Tony Mariani said...

Spot on!

Bob said...

Bob Hoffman summed it up well today:

"The hypothesis behind this daydream was that the same consumer who was frantically clicking a TV remote to escape from advertising was going to merrily click a mouse to interact with it."

Jeff said...

I couldn't agree more. Hostile Takeover