The problem with content

Yes, everything’s better than goddamn awful banner ads.
But let’s not get too excited about “content”.

The first problem with content is that it’s everything and nothing.
It’s high art and crap that you find online just because the “upload” button is easy.

(A Shakespeare sonnet and a picture of my cat’s ass, as Bob Hoffmann said)

The second problem is that most of it is pictures of my cat’s ass.

Why is that?

Because marketing folks are wrong when they think that consumers love their companies (they don’t), and they are wrong when they think that consumers are dumb.

Nothing new here. But the best people in advertising, Bill Bernbach and George Lois, David Ogilvy and Howard Luck Gossage, never treated the public as if they were idiots.

The problem with content

Why do marketers today create “channels” on Facebook and Twitter and of course on YouTube and only then proceed to think about what crap to stuff in there?

Because they have it all backwards.

They know they are not loved, and so they crave likes. At the same time, they can’t let go of their condescending attitude: people are dumb and will “like” anything.

And if they don’t, they’ll push it harder. And hand it over to people with the technical skills to push an unwanted message until it looks like it is being accepted.

Until they can “prove” that they were right: they love us and they’re stupid.

They also seem to think that the conduits, like the web or social media, are what we really care about and not just, well, pipes. We want water (or beer), not pipes.

The medium is not the message.

The only message your company is delivering every time they think they’re being posh because they’re using social media is that they’re fucking clueless.

Instead of doing great stuff – big ideas: art, events, long videos, manuals, posts with insider info and original points of view, or even good ads, and then use the pipes for what they are, i.e. just pipes – just ways to give great stuff a little push, they prefer to annoy us.

But in a ‘social’ way.

They produce crap “content” to fill the channels and then happily count how many (not many) users they get. They treat it (and treat us) as if it were “media”. Free media.

They use technology not to make their operations more efficient, deliver services and get out of the way of their customers or to do smart things which would have been impossible to do on other people’s media properties, but to (forcibly) “be in touch with us”.

On all the possible screens and on all our devices.

No matter how lonely we may be, we ain’t that lonely.

Buy my book: What Happened To Advertising? What Would Gossage Do?

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