This appeared in Campaign magazine on December 4th 2009 as one of their regular Private View features.
A long running study recently concluded that human beings derive happiness not from money or drugs or sex, but from relationships.
This epiphany will no doubt leave half the ad industry nodding glumly as they realise that’s where they’ve been going wrong, whilst the other half nod sagely having long appreciated the value of meaningful relationships; with clients, staff, consumers and, should they ever make it home, family.
The findings might also offer a plausible explanation for those perplexed at the burgeoning numbers joining social networks. People feel good when they talk to one another. When they share; thoughts, experiences, ideas, opinions. And they now have the power to share them with everyone in the world, instantly.
It’s long been argued that brands aren’t owned by brand managers they’re owned by the consumer (an argument the web has once and for all put to rest). The same can now be said for advertising. We are losing ‘control’ of our product. The likes of Youtube are proving to be a research tool more complete, powerful and far-reaching, not to mention cheaper, than anything Millward Brown could concoct. People are watching ads and sharing what they think of them. If they like them they’ll say why. Then they’ll watch them again. And again. Then they’ll tell everyone else to watch them. If they don’t like them they’ll say why. And if they think of a better idea they’ll share that too. The smart clients and agencies are listening in to this chatter. And adapting their strategies accordingly. (If Lord Leverhulme were still around he’d be rubbing his hands in glee. Finally a way to work out which half of his advertising is working, and perhaps get the other half working better too.)
With that in mind, rather than bleat on for ages in the usual one-way conversation, I thought we’d try something different. An experiment all those who’ll still be enjoying a fruitful career in advertising five years hence might appreciate. Today Private View goes public.
I’ve tweeted my thoughts on this week’s work, so instead of being forced to sit there reading the ramblings of one opinionated idiot you’re free to enjoy the ramblings of numerous equally opinionated idiots and even add yours to theirs if you so desire.
I don’t need to tell you how Twitter works (if you’re not signed up yet, the numbers suggest you’ll soon be tweeting like loquacious chaffinches on speed). I’ve added hash tags to help you search for each of the tweets and included links to the work so you can have a look at it too.
OK, here goes nothing. Or next to nothing. 140 characters is bugger all let’s face it.
Jamie does what he does best. He’s droivin rahnd Britain givin his public an ‘appy Christmas. Noice. #privatetweetsains
Beautiful images. Mainly makes you think: ‘Ooh, Earth is pretty’ & ‘Wasn’t Sony’s Falling Sofa good?’ #privatetweettosh
Digital gig poster on wall. I uploaded a photo & couldn’t see it. Rather dull, uninspiring and un-02. #privatetweet02
Doesn’t make me feel very Christmassy. Kids as adults well used idea but nicely shot & great track. #privatetweetjlewis
'50s paintings of people at Christmas with real arms. Trying to be ho-ho but ends up a little ho-hum. #privatetweetschh
Proves how much engagement is added by actually seeing the meercat. And that The Hoff is no comedian. #privatetweetcomp
Right. That’s that. Let’s see if anything happens. Ooh, it’s as exciting as firing up the Large Hadron Collider.
With the whole lot of us jointly owning the world’s brands and their advertising, there’s one question the popularity of social networks raises: who owns us? The answer would seem to be: we all do.
That being the case, here’s my wish for 2010: Let’s be nice to us. We all deserve to be happy don’t we?