Digital Doesn’t Matter

I bought Josh Sklar’s book Digital Doesn’t Matter during a shopping spree and without realising (LOL) that the title of the book was ironic. The real irony, however, is that after reading the book I am all the more convinced that Digital Doesn’t Matter.

Josh’s book is a very long one, the content coming from 135 interviews with big shots in Advertising, and, to be perfectly honest with you, I can’t say I enjoyed all of it. However, the book does provide some interesting answers to some important questions.

For example: why is Digital all of a sudden all the rage, after having been neglected and ignored and even scorned for so long? That’s a simple one: because there are over a billion people on Facebook, and that, of course, changed just about everything.

But there’s a second good answer:

Traditional agencies began offering digital know-how not because they believed in it, but because the revenues through traditional means had become stagnant and to some extent eroded. Like planning, digital became the new opportunity to increase profit.

— Patrick Low, Founder and Creative Partner, Goodfellas

So, how are Ad Agencies actually handling this new new thing, you know, Digital?

Not very well.

They keep on repeating the word “digital” and saying nonsense like that Digital is the new frontier, that they need to infect the agency with the digital virus, that Digital means executing across channels, that Digital is “through-the-line”, that they need to win digital awards and hire digital natives, that they need a digital component to campaigns etc.

And is it working?

It’s weird: more than half of The Most Impressive Digital Campaigns, as in Chapter 15, are videos, either TVCs or longer videos, that happen to be good — some absolutely brilliant, like The Great Schlep and the Susan Glenn AXE Commercial — and get shared.

So, what about the “really digital” stuff?

The fact of the matter is, and I hate to be negative about it, I haven’t seen, outside of Nike+ and maybe one or two others, a big defining brand idea come from a digital shop.

George Tannenbaum, Executive Creative Director, R/GA

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