Monday, 7 January 2019

The constancy of change

Just before Christmas, I commented on a post by Paul Feldwick, of The Anatomy of Humbug fame.  He'd compared two quotes about young people and advertising, over four decades apart:

Audiences these days, especially younger millennials, are super adept at seeing through cheap efforts to sell to them. If brands want to engage they need to be authentic and subtle.
Andrew Mole writing in Campaign Sept 2016
The under-30 generation loathes sham and hypocrisy... ‘tell it like it is’ is the touchstone.... more wit, honesty, verve, self-deprecation and irreverence.
Lee Adler writing in Business Horizons, February 1970

Can you spot the difference?

As I was in the midst of the annual deluge of innovation and trend reports, almost all of which start with some commentary about the "pace of change," I asked Paul whether he knew of any quotes from way back then about the extraordinary pace of change. He pointed me in the direction of this:

Whang! Bang! Clangety-clang! Talk about the tempo of today - John Smith knows it well. Day after day it whirs continuously in his brain, his blood, his very soul.

You can read the rest of A.B. Carson's 1928 description of an ad-man here.

There's a certain amount of arrogance in thinking that we live in times of greater change than ever before. But even the ancient Greeks knew that the only constant in life is change. I should think John Smith and his colleagues back in 1928 believed that the the electric, jazz world of the 1920s was "peak change" or whatever expression they used. 

As I read yet again about autonomous this or that, gameifying whatever, cryptocurrencies, smart cities, extended reality, voice technology, facial recognition, artificial intelligence and all the rest, the real world outside continues to confound the shiny new world of the future where everything works on demand. 

Maybe it's a fall of snow that makes everything grind to a halt. Maybe it's artificial stupidity instead of artificial intelligence. Things don't work, things get broken, unpredictable stuff happens.

Annoying, yes, but charming too, in the way that perfection lacks soul.

OK, time to scurry off to catch that train.




1 comment:

Sue Imgrund said...

Here we go ...
https://marketoonist.com/2019/01/marketing-predictions.html