Magpie marketing

We believe we work in turbulent times.

A quick skim of the industry press and you’ll learn that ecommerce is upending retail. Social media is uprooting advertising. Private labels are replacing brands. Advertising is dying. And TV is dead.

We believe change is the new normal. That its pace is accelerating. That technological adoption is faster than ever. That unicorn company’s are constantly being born. And that incumbents are being killed at breakneck pace.

So we hyperventilate. We panic. We rush to the new and shiny. We bolt on technological tactics, believing the band aids will save us. From drone delivery to cheap chatbots we are seduced by the superficial.

Continue reading on Medium.

The ageism in advertising

The advertising industry is addicted to youth.

We are obsessed and possessed. We crave it in our agencies and we covet it in our audiences. We believe younger staff are more creative and younger consumers are more valuable.

But this is nothing more than received wisdom. Dogma upon which we have all been indoctrinated. Spurious beliefs and specious myths; unquestioned, unfounded and ultimately unsound.

By undervaluing older staff we undervalue expertise. By overlooking older audiences we overlook opportunity.

This article makes the case that changing our ageist attitudes is not only a moral decision but a commercial one. A decision that would improve the quality of our work. And a decision that would improve the quality of our standing.

Let’s start close to home.

Continue reading on Medium.

The digital dark side

The advent of digital media promised so much.

Savvy shoppers would no longer be surreptitiously swayed by advertising alone. The internet would enable them to research products. Social media would allow them to share their experiences. And ecommence would provide the power to compare prices.

Empowered by these tools of transparency, consumers would expose poor products and endorse better brands. Over time, omnipotent brands would cede power to omniscient consumers. With perfect information, shoppers would make perfect purchases. They would find the best possible products at the best possible prices. And with a smartphone in their pocket, they would do it anywhere, any time.

Or at least this was the promise. Unfortunately, this pledge is increasingly looking like a pipe dream. A far-flung fiction. An unattainable utopia.

This is the story of the digital dark side. Told in five parts.

Continue reading on Medium.

The Millennial myth

It seems that a day doesn’t pass without another article hitting the headlines exposing the shortcomings of the Millennial generation. Most of them are nonsense. Even the ones from reputable sources. For example, Time believes that Millennials can’t afford to buy houses because they spend too much money on avocados. And Business Insider blames Millennials for “killing the napkin industry”. In fact, at the time of writing, a Google search for ‘Millennials’ returns over 19,000,000 related articles. 71,000 of them have been published in the last week alone. No wonder The New York Times claimed that the word ‘Millennial’ is monopolising the cultural conversation.

But Millennials are not alone.

Continue reading on Medium.

Be the 4%

In January 1991, Brian Eno appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
Isolated on an imaginary island, Brian selected his eight songs, chose his book and decided on a luxury item.

As usual though, it was the connecting conversation that was the most interesting.

During one segment, Brian explained that as a young musician he had imposed a rule on his song writing. The rule simply stipulated that he was not allowed to use the words I, us or we.

Continue reading on Medium.