Do we have the imagination to really change our industry?

Do we have the imagination to really change our industry?
SHARE
THIS


What best describes you?

I love our industry, I really do, but I also increasingly fear for its future. By and large we’re a hugely creative and talented bunch of people, but far too blind and cynical to the sheer exponential rate of technological change. We simply do not comprehend either the size of the problem or the opportunity that is staring at us in the face.

So after a few days reflecting on a week spent at SXSW, I just can’t help thinking that we lack the imagination to genuinely do things differently and really disrupt our own industry, let alone industries on behalf our clients. I genuinely fear that whilst we happily celebrate creativity at the numerous awards shows around the world, advertising as we know it is going to blow up in our face.

It’s as if we’re driving a beat up old Holden and trying to make it fly – instead we need to be making a totally new flying machine. In the words of Google’s ‘Captain of Moonshots’ it’s easier to make something 10 times better than 10 percent better. Perhaps now is the time for us all to ‘Reimagine Advertising’ and not just leave it up to companies like Google to do it for us. 

Whilst we continue to talk about creativity, the power of emotional storytelling and social media, technology is being used to do some increasingly wonderful and disruptive things. I’m also afraid to say, by some infinitely more imaginative people. In fact so much so, they make us advertising types look all very quaint in the grand scheme of what’s possible.

Half of the problem comes down to our fixation with the new as well as the old. Every year when SxSW comes along, in a very futile attempt to prove to clients we get digital, we get obsessed with the ‘shiny things’, such as the latest app, Google Glasses or 3D printing. Instead we really need to think about how these technologies are impacting industries at a rate never before seen.

As an example, imagine a world where you can literally print anything you like – including guns. Yes that’s right, there was one session focused on the ability to 3D print guns. Whilst crazy, it is very real and it has huge implications for manufacturing. Want a Lego brick? Print it. Want a house? Print it. For not much more than $2K there is a technology out there that will bring down as many companies as it makes.

Don’t be scared though. Whilst it might be bad for businesses it’s great for people. Imagine if your children could dream up and make their own toys- how creative might they grow up to be? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if they filled their time making things rather than watching TV?

Now try imagining a world where everything is automated through the power of computation. The man with the giant brain, Stephen Wolfram does and he has created a number of products that have already started to turn this into a reality.

This could of course mean the end of many jobs, particularly in advertising. Media planning and buying is already becoming automated much like the finance world. Even the making of a website, an app or even an advert could become automated, which is good for everyone apart from agencies

An application that could automate the making of an application is a slightly hard concept to get your head around, but it’s happening and the list of these types of disruptive developments in technology from SxSW is exhaustive.

Dennis Crowley, founder of FourSquare, yes it still exists, summed up SxSW perfectly by saying: “SxSW is like spending a few days in the future and then going back to the present”. My only build on this is that we are already very much in the future and if we continue to blink, we’re in danger of missing it.

After fear my second feeling from SxSW was a mix of optimism and envy. When you hear Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX talking about transforming energy, transportation and even sending a rocket to Mars to find another habitable planet for humanity, it’s hard not to admire peoples’ vision and imagination at SxSW.  

Which leads me on to another great SxSW quote from an interview with Nick Cave: “I’ve spent my entire career banging my head up against people with a lack of imagination”.

Having now experienced SxSW and arguably a bit of the future, it’s imagination that the advertising industry needs more of, not creativity. We lack the will and determination to fight the good fight and create a much more sustainable system; it’s all short term gain (and awards) over a real a long term future.

Ultimately there is all this opportunity available and we’re squandering it by trying to do the same things a bit better than last year. The advertising industry loves to talk up its creativity credentials but its imagination that would have won awards at SxSW.

The main overall theme from SxSW is that we need to solve real human problems – no matter how big or small. Rather refreshingly I’m not sure I heard the word ‘consumer’ once at SxSW, it was all about designing things that solve real human problems and making technology as invisible as possible.

Leap Motion’s controller let’s you naturally navigate websites in a Minority Report fashion. Google Glasses is another example of making it easier to search and explore the world around you without staring down at your phone.

Connected objects were also in abundance. There was a doorbell that would subtly chime louder and louder as Mum or Dad gets closer to home from work. The Skype Cabinet that turned the experience of video chat into furniture. Google also programmed a pair of adidias trainers to talk to you when you are too idle.

Other highlights included Volkswagen, again with Google, showing a glimpse of Smileage, an application that aims to make driving fun again. Developments in facial recognition software is also one too watch. As connected TVs become more popular, it will be possible to serve up relevant ads based on who is watching. Yes even advertising will become more human too.

One of the best human traits we have is our imagination and there has never been a better and more critical time for us to put it to work. I also think it will be a lot more fun.

Carl Moggridge is Communications Director at Naked Communications

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Does Your Christmas Marketing Suck?
  • Opinion

Does Your Christmas Marketing Suck?

It's the most wonderful time of the year for the worst kind of marketing. Is your brand guilty of producing crappy Christmas conte

Opinion

by Peter Harris

Peter Harris
Study: Aussie Retailers Set To “Struggle” Over “Stagnate” Christmas
  • Marketing

Study: Aussie Retailers Set To “Struggle” Over “Stagnate” Christmas

According to IBISWorld, Christmas retail spending in Australia is expected to stagnate this December, falling by 0.2 per cent compared to the same time last year. While not all categories are impacted, IBISWorld is attributing the overall decline to lower discretionary incomes, negative consumer sentiment, and price discounting across the retail sector. “Overall, IBISWorld has observed early […]

Industry Diversity: It’s More Than Skin Deep
  • Opinion

Industry Diversity: It’s More Than Skin Deep

In his final column for the year, B&T’s favourite industry maverick and troublemaker, Robert Strohfeldt, turns his opinion pen to adland’s topic du jour – diversity. And, he says, it’s as much about the thinking as it is who you employ at your agency… There is an old (and wise) statement most people would have heard […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Queensland Anti-Porn Crusaders Cop Ad Ban
  • Campaigns

Queensland Anti-Porn Crusaders Cop Ad Ban

We have a strident anti-pornography policy at B&T. Earphones must be worn at all times and strictly no little people.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Nature’s Way Celebrates Big Things Little People Do In UCG Videos Via Wavemaker & Storyful
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Nature’s Way Celebrates Big Things Little People Do In UCG Videos Via Wavemaker & Storyful

Health and wellbeing company Nature’s Way is celebrating the achievements of kids in a series of relatable and entertaining online videos that tug at the heart strings of parents. Instead of using actors to tell the brand story of Nature’s Way’s Kids Smart supplement range, Storyful has helped Wavemaker to license user-generated content clips of […]

DEC PR Wins Hisense Account
  • Marketing

DEC PR Wins Hisense Account

Electronics and whitegoods specialist Hisense has announced it has appointed DEC PR to lead its strategic communications remit in the local market, following a competitive tender process. DEC PR will work to support its brand building activities and managing corporate communications. The agency’s work will integrate closely with Hisense’s other marketing partners. Andre Iannuzzi, marketing […]

QMS Media Expands Presence In Melbourne With New Digital Billboard ‘The G’
  • Advertising
  • Media

QMS Media Expands Presence In Melbourne With New Digital Billboard ‘The G’

Outdoor media company QMS Media has strengthened its digital outdoor presence in Victoria, unveiling an iconic digital billboard in the heart of Melbourne’s famous sporting precinct. The launch of ‘The G’ sees QMS’ landmark digital portfolio ‘bookending’ arguably one of the most iconic and in-demand digital outdoor locations in Australia – Richmond Station Bridge – […]

HSBC Sydney 7s Creates New Visual Identity For 2018 Via Digilante
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

HSBC Sydney 7s Creates New Visual Identity For 2018 Via Digilante

As part of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the Sydney 7s event returns in January complete with a new brand identity, creative strategy and media campaign. With the 2017 Sydney 7s a sell-out event, the challenge for 2018 was to carry that momentum into the third year, defining Sydney’s place as the new ‘go-to’ […]

Bound Round Launches Family Travel Publication for Aussies
  • Media

Bound Round Launches Family Travel Publication for Aussies

Family travel platform Bound Round has announced the launch of its first e-magazine to Australian consumers. Travel Bound is a family-focused, digital quarterly publication available on all Virgin Australia flights through the carrier’s in-flight entertainment system, and is also available for consumer download via the Bound Round website. Bound Round founder and CEO Janeece Keller […]

SBS Unveils New Look, New App For SBS News
  • Media

SBS Unveils New Look, New App For SBS News

Do you like say "I only watch SBS" in an attempt to sound smarter than you are? Well, why not pretend to read this too?

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-Samsung CMO Joins Amazon Australia As Marketing Director
  • Marketing

Ex-Samsung CMO Joins Amazon Australia As Marketing Director

Amazon Australia has appointed former Samsung Electronics chief marketing officer (CMO) Arno Lenior to lead its marketing division. Lenior worked as Samsung’s CMO for more than three years before departing in 2015. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has also held CEO roles at VR company Virtical and brand consultancy Blue Ocean Brands, and joined […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
News Corp Names Its Car Of The Year
  • Marketing

News Corp Names Its Car Of The Year

News announces its annual Car Of The Year and it's not what you'd expect. Well, we certainly didn't expect it anyway.

Aussie Tennis Open & Country Road Announce New Partnership
  • Marketing

Aussie Tennis Open & Country Road Announce New Partnership

The Australian Open has partnered with iconic Australian clothing and lifestyle brand Country Road to supply the uniforms for next year’s tournament. Confirmed today as the official fashion lifestyle Partner of Australian Open 2018, one of Australia’s most loved brands will be worn by thousands of tournament staff at Melbourne Park in January. On-court officials including the chair and […]

Andrew O’Keefe Quits His Weekend Sunrise Duties
  • Media

Andrew O’Keefe Quits His Weekend Sunrise Duties

After 12 years with Weekend Sunrise, Andrew O’Keefe has decided to step away from his hosting and reporting duties. O’Keefe will continue his full-time role as host of Seven’s quiz show The Chase Australia, as well as focus on other projects with the Network. “The ideal job is doing work you love with people you love,” O’Keefe […]

Study: Brand Loyalty Hinges On Customer Support Experiences
  • Marketing

Study: Brand Loyalty Hinges On Customer Support Experiences

Fast and effective support will be a competitive differentiator for companies looking to win over digitally transformed customers and employees, new research has revealed. According to a study by IDC and LogMeIn titled Support Services as a Competitive Differentiator, nearly 67 per cent of consumers said that customer satisfaction was more important than price when […]

OMA Appoints Red Ant Design To Build Industry’s First Automated Proposal Platform
  • Advertising
  • Media

OMA Appoints Red Ant Design To Build Industry’s First Automated Proposal Platform

The Outdoor Media Association (OMA) has announced the appointment of Red Ant Design to build the out-oh-home (OOH) industry’s first automated proposal platform (APP). After an extensive global search and industry consultation, the decision to build the system in-house with a local Australian company was made. The APP will be built in an agile process, […]

Nick Ballard, Managing Director
Australia & New Zealand, BlisMedia
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Blis Unveils New Consumer Behaviour Analytics Tool For Maketers

Location data technology company Blis has launched an analytics tool that allows marketers to analyse consumer behaviour – from audience profiling, to exposure, to attribution – by capturing and activating mobile movement data. Smart Trends offers robust in-store consumer behavioural insights and in-store comparison of multiple location types and brands, allowing marketers to break down demographic, […]

WiTH Collective Linked By Isobar Renames Colours Of The Great Barrier Reef As Part Of New Campaign
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

WiTH Collective Linked By Isobar Renames Colours Of The Great Barrier Reef As Part Of New Campaign

The Great Barrier Reef is under threat, and WiTH Collective – part of Isobar Australia Group – has launched a social movement to protect it. The ‘Unite for the Reef’ campaign will put vivid pops of colour into millions of social media feeds as a global network of individuals united to pledge support for the future of the Great Barrier Reef.  Spearheaded […]

Imagination Unveils Creative For Sydney’s NYE 2017 Celebrations
  • Marketing

Imagination Unveils Creative For Sydney’s NYE 2017 Celebrations

The City of Sydney has unveiled the creative line-up for 2017 Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations, including a new look and theme for Australia’s largest public event, conceived by experience agency Imagination. In its seventh year as the creative team behind the event, Imagination has set out to create a fresh, inspiring new theme and […]