It's a favorite pastime of people 44 years and older to talk about the glory days of advertising.
The good old days. When briefs were brief. When check ins were scheduled by the week, not by the hour. And when account people sold the work and didn't messily inject themselves into the creating of the work.
Of course these kvetching sessions are always anecdotal. There's no actual hard evidence, archeological or otherwise, that this golden era of advertising ever existed.
"Ahhhhh, this business has changed," is as expected as the unhappy old man at a restaurant, "The soup is cold."
But last week, while foraging around on linkedin.com for my next gig, I came across the photo you see pictured above.
Maybe you don't have your reading glasses or your eyes are still bleary from working late last night and preparing the 289 page deck for the End of Year Sales Event, so allow me to restate the caption above the picture: Audience is Everything. Applause is the New Revenue!
That my friends is a game changer!
A clear indication that the Digital Revolution is over and the Tweeters, the Sharers and the Selfie-Takers have won.
You see in the old days, revenue was the new revenue.
We toiled, perhaps mistakenly, under the belief that as an advertising agency we were charged with increasing sales for our 15% commission-paying clients. We wrote long copy ads and crafted compelling TV commercials in order to make the cash register ring.
In return for that labor we traveled in business class, stayed at swanky hotels and made it a point to order the $38 room service breakfast.
"No, not the glass. Give me the whole pitcher of freshly-squeezed, pulp free orange juice. Thank you."
Those cash registers have been replaced by little plastic doohickies that can turn a smartphone into a money-accepting device, nevertheless I've been operating under the misguided belief that advertising was always about increasing business for the people we were in business with.
Of course that kind of quaint thinking is so 20th century.
Now, it seems, clients are like that high school cheerleader who put on too much make-up and convinced her daddy to get her a boob job.
They just want to be liked.
It's not about moving merchandise off the shelf, it's about "shifting the emotional branding landscape."
Page hits are the new currency.
Units sold have been usurped by YouTube visits.
It's all so convoluted.
Just as bewildering as how a restaurant can charge $13 for a bowl of bad matzo ball soup.