How so much changed in so little time

In my first week in advertising:

  • Apple Computers were flat and beige
  • We used Freehand, and it was owned by Aldus, before it became part of Macromedia who became part of Adobe.
  • There was only dial-up internet.
  • People smoked in the agency. A lot.
  • Media-planners and buyers were our colleagues.
  • Multi-media meant TV, Print, Radio and Outdoor.
  • Research was a luxury.

This month I start my 18th year in advertising.

In 17 years everything has changed. Perhaps the only other business that has been transformed as much as advertising is the tech industry itself – which is the business that spurred the changes in mine.

Douglas Adams (who would have been 60 years old this week), famously said about the effect of technology on media that:

It’d be like a bunch of rivers, the Amazon and the Mississippi and the Congo asking how the Atlantic Ocean might affect them… and the answer is of course is that they won’t be rivers anymore, just currents in the ocean.

TV, print, radio, outdoor, they have all just become part of the ocean. No longer rivers, but currents. And imagine that, the channels are no longer one-way.

The one thing that has not changed is this.

People are attracted by ideas that are charming, heart-warming and above all – awesome.

And as long as human nature stays the same, advertising, or whatever this business is evolving into, will stay the same at its core. Now. And in a 1000 years from now.


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