There is a horrible medical syndrome called Munchausen By Proxy. In it, a mentally ill parent invents or induces medical symptoms in a child to gain attention for herself (in 85% of cases it's a mother.)
Earlier this week, in a post called Munchausen by Proxy by Media Seth Godin compared Munchausen By Proxy to what our media does to viewers. According to Seth...
"...the media does this to us all the time... It started a century ago with the Spanish American War. Disasters sell newspapers. And a moment-by-moment crisis gooses cable ratings, and horrible surprises are reliable clickbait. The media rarely seeks out people or incidents that encourage us to be calm, rational or optimistic...
Even when they're not actually causing unfortunate events, they're working to get us to believe that things are on the brink of disaster."Seth's point is undeniably true. By turning events into "crises" the media draws attention to itself, and earns a nice little profit from the increased viewership/listenership/readership.
I would like to suggest that this is also a perfect description of what Seth and his pals in the marketing punditocracy have done for the past 10 years.
Since about 2004, the marketing establishment has been engaged in creating phony crises based on flimsy evidence, questionable assertions, and exaggerated claims:
- the death of traditional advertising
- the death of television
- the death of the "interruption model"
- the end of mass marketing
- the enthusiasm of consumers for "interacting" with advertising
- the miracle of social media
The more they can convince us that everything is changing -- and we need them to interpret the changes -- the longer they stay employed. And so they have created an avalanche of exaggerated claims and dire warnings that gain them attention and a nice little profit from the increased viewership/listenership/readership.
Creating alarm is just plain good strategy -- whether it's by the media or those who choose to criticize it.
Hysteria Central: Roll Call Of The Dead
Broadcasting Is Dead: Here
Strategy, Ideas, Marketing, and Management Are Dead: Here
Television Is Dead: Here
Advertising Is Dead: Here
Ad Campaigns Are Dead: Here
Copywriters Are Dead: Here
Marketing Is Dead: Here