The limits of digital

A few articles that I read over the past few days highlighted the edges of digital. The FT published an analysis on the modern problems that digital has wrought on the advertising industry.

Jeff Goodby, chairman of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners – a successful longtime American advertising agency said:

In the past, he said, the only true measure of success was whether the public knew and cared about your work. “You could get into a cab and find out, in a mile or two, whether you mattered in life, just by asking the driver.” Now, “No one knows what we do any more.”

In essence advertising campaigns had lost talkability, positive brand associations and long term memorability – the kind of things that you would think of being important in terms of marketing’s role in brand building.

Brands, particularly emerging brands like designers have it as bad as advertising agencies, here’s fashion site Man Repeller on the challenges of building a brand:

When I first started working in fashion retail, coming from a fine arts background, I thought it would be completely different. Working with the clothes but also seeing the way it had to recycle every six months got me thinking about the branding that gets pushed upon designers. I think it happens in all creative fields because of social media. I see it with a lot of my peers. We see the same obsession with youth — young painters — in the art world that you have in fashion with young designers, the same pressure for a cohesive vision. At 25? Nobody knows what they’re doing at 25. And that’s totally fine. You’re still finding yourself. And there has to be more room to find yourself when you’re young as opposed to this pressure to emerge as a fully formed Greek myth coming out with her uncracked egg, or whatever.

Which impacts the kind of businesses likely to grow in the future. They are likely to be ‘culturally stunted’.

The noisy environment of social has meant that brands are also distorting themselves to get cut through, Vice magazine covered what can only be described as sociopathic brand personalities of independent coffee shop chains in London.

Or Instagram baiting street side billboards like a pub landlord who misquotes Enoch Powell and thinks that the National Front aren’t serious on race issues

More information
How the Mad Men lost the plot | FT
MR Round Table: The Burnout Generation – Man Repeller
London Is Tearing Itself Apart Because of Coffee Shop Sidewalk Signs | VICE