Thursday, August 25, 2011

advertising's rich tapestry

I'm currently immersed in Simon Reynolds' latest tome, 'Retromania - Pop Culture's Addiction To It's Own Past'.

The nub of Reynolds' argument is that nostalgia is thoroughly intwined within the consumer-entertainment-complex. To the point that retromania has now become the dominant force in the culture.

He calls the last ten years or so the 'Re' Decade.

Revivals, Reissues, Remakes, Re-enactments and endless Retrospection.
Looking at the internet it's hard to argue against his hypothesis.

YouTube as a repository for grainy VHS rips of bygone times, and even new kids off the verticalisation block like Hipstamatic and Instagram that turn present moments into faux-historical ruins with the touch of a retro filter.

In a tenuous segway segue, I had to share this nugget from chapter one by the (equal parts: brilliant yet infuriating) Julie Burchill, from her NME days, lifted from the singles review pages of circa 1980.

I'm victim to my own Reflective (the lesser of two evils versus Restorative) nostalgia here, I know, however Julie seems to somehow be harking-forward in this statement to a situation that is here-and-now in the philosophical debate over the future of communications in the digital-social-mobile era.

'There are two ways to view music. One is with tunnel vision, which is what I've got. If a record isn't by the Sex Pistols or Tamla's just pointless. But how unhealthy, I'm just a cranky old punk past it's prime. But the alternative is just hideous, and it is the only alternative. It is to believe in ROCK'S RICH TAPESTRY.
So many smug saps think they are rebels, but anything that can fit into ROCK'S RICH TAPESTRY is dead at heart'

Perhaps we are now close to the point of a black vs white conversation on how to approach planning and executing communications.

There may be no longer be a middle ground.

To paraphrase another relic, it's time to decide which side of the bed you are lying on.

We have a surplus of information, yet a dearth of knowledge.
We have a surplus of stuff but a dearth of demand.
We don't need more stuff we need the stuff we've got to be better.
The way to cut through the noise and clutter is not to add more noise and clutter.
In the new world of personal media, connectedness and customer empowerment, Permission is the only way forward.

Harking back with talk of a new golden age of broadcast advertising is the stuff Revivals, Reissues, Remakes, Re-enactments and endless Retrospection.

While that may be aligned with the prevailing culture it's a symptom of a mass culture that may have actually run out of ideas.

We need some tunnel vision.
Think what no-one else is thinking and do things that no-one else is doing.

Anything that fits into ADVERTISING'S RICH TAPESTRY may be dead at heart.

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