February 22, 2011

Self-Hating Grown-Ups

If there is one thing that truly makes me sick, it's mature people fawning over youth.

I think it started in the 1960's when youth culture became an obsession. Condescending clergymen, misguided commencement speakers, and pandering magazine covers proclaimed the arrival of a new species of human. They were young, caring, involved, and committed. They were going to change the world.

They changed it all right. Into a complete pig's breakfast.

But the wrong-headedness of youth worship hasn't had any effect on the ad industry. Despite massive evidence that young people have no money and make lousy customers, the ad and marketing industries are still in the sway of young people and their inane culture.

Advertising used to be about finding something uniquely differentiating about a brand and communicating it. Today it's about digging around for the next fad and contriving a way to attach a brand to it. In this environment, the worst thing you can be is out of touch.

Consequently, the most terrifying prospect for your average ad hack is the fear of growing up.

There are many manifestations of this. Today we are going to talk about just one. Several months ago I wrote an article for Adweek called Advertising In The Age of Hysteria. The point of the piece was that agencies have become very good at frightening clients into believing that they (the clients) are out of it. And unless they have us (the agencies) to interpret what's going on for them, they will die.

This has been lowered to a new level by PHD (one of Omnicoms thousands of agencies) who have taken these scare tactics, coupled them with youth worship, and come up with a truly appalling piece of digi-babble crap. As you watch it, try not to choke on your vomit.

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