Saturday, July 13, 2013

hey hey we're (not) the monkeys - the coda

I half expected to get some grief about the 'Monkeys can do this' post from last week.

And indeed it came.

[If this is news to you, go back and check the original post for context, and also the edit which appeared on mumbrella +comments]

But complaints were of a different sort from what I expected.

For some the Mad Men reference was unacceptable.

Mad Men being the symbol of everything that is old and out of date in advertising.

I'm not so sure.

Let's go again at the problem, but this time from an economics stand point.

And for a start, and for the sake of argument, let's accept the Lionel Robbins definition of modern economics:

"Economics is the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses."


People want more of what there is less of, therefore that resource which is in scarce supply can command more value.
Good news for the supplier of a scarce resource.

The democratisation of the production and distribution of media afforded by social technologies is not in doubt.

The fact that any form of media one can imagine is being produced in huge volumes by millions of people is also a given.

But something that used to be scarce is no longer scarce therefore while there may be millions of people able to produce media in any given format for any platform the sheer ubiquitousness means that in economic terms it has little value.

So agencies need to be mindful of this.
The clients pay for the value they perceive themselves to be getting.

So when Don Draper says 'people think monkeys can do this...they can't do what we do, and they hate us for that', I believe we should heed that.

Because monkeys get paid in peanuts.

And that's why the whole anyone-can-do-it idea, this idea perpetuated principally by those of the social media confirmation bias, is generally bad for the whole communications industry.

And it isn't true.

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