Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Shameless Brands

In a somewhat hysterical article, entitled "Generation reveal: there's nothing they won't post online", a Times journalist muses whether the current tendency of "young people" to post everything online from miscarriages to STDs will "herald the death of discretion".
This all looks to me like a bit of a media frenzy. We're all becoming disinhibited and it's the beginning of the end is the cry. But wasn't it always so? In the old days, "Tracey shagged Gary" was probably scrawled on the lavatory wall - these days Gary and/or Tracey may well be "sexting" each other but the level of interest in their activities from anyone apart from Tracey's Mum or Gary's other girlfriend should, quite rightly, be zero.
But there is an interesting point here. The medium has changed and for those of us who spent our teenage/early 20s years pre-mobile, pre-internet, pre-texting, who remember standing outside pee-smelling telephone boxes with our collection of 2p pieces, sticking notes on doors or even writing letters, some of this behaviour may seem odd. Some people of a certain age that I know have adapted very well to Facebook and behave there like a "digital native", but others don't feel comfortable - and there's nothing wrong with that.
It's the same with brands. The new brands on the block are, mostly, savvy with social media and don't look out of place. There are "digital native" brands as well as people. But brands of a certain age need to be more careful. Some make the transition to new media well, but others stick out like the embarassing Dad at the youth club disco. For brands of a certain age, as with people, it's worth remembering that a touch of mystery is never a bad thing.

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