A new coat of paint — brilliant! (or not)

Gregory Wilson has penned a nice little commentary (Saying Mass) for Media Daily News that talks about how branding is more important than ever and how marketers need to view the various TV screen sizes now available to consumers as different opportunities instead of simply calling everything “video.” These types of commentaries are everywhere today, as the mass marketing world attempts to rebuild itself for a very uncertain future, and each carries the basic assumption that, well, we just CAN’T throw the mass marketing baby out with the bath water.

Read Mr. Wilson’s words:

But the fact is, a brand is the trust people have in the product. And trust is built through emotional connections.

The best way to create (emphasis mine) an emotional connection? Sight, sound, and motion.

This is the business of marketers — to “create” emotional connections. But here’s the problem: Nobody asked consumers if they wanted these emotional connections, and that’s a huge part of what’s happening in our culture today. People are tired of being sold. We’re drowning in hyperbole as these smart salesmen “create” emotional connections, and what they don’t realize is that we KNOW what they’re doing.
It is the context in which a message is consumed that determines how that message is absorbed.
Absorbed? We are we, sponges? Can you see the manipulation hidden in this statement? Hello? We’re tired of being manipulated.
One of our screens goes on the wall. One goes on the desk. And one goes in our pocket. This allows each to offer something uniquely different.

The large screen allows us to connect viscerally. Size does that. The small screen, rationally. (Online search is, for the most part, a left-brain function.) And the mobile screen–well, that allows us to use its mobility and connect tactically.

With one, we (emphasis mine) can move the heart. With another, the head. As for the mobile screen–well, that moves with our customers so that we (emphasis mine) can be there at the point of attack (I mean, purchase).

Viscerally. Rationally. Tactically.

Heart. Head. Help.

Give. It. Up.

Maybe we don’t want to be “moved,” and who wants to be attacked? Geez.

I was with a group of broadcasters a few weeks ago and said, “This is a revolution — the Personal Media Revolution (thank you, J.D. Lasica). Who do you think they’re revolting against? You.”

With all due respect to Mr. Wilson and others in mass marketing, I know your world is collapsing. I also know that branding and other forms of mass marketing aren’t going away completely, but the notion that you can manage your way out of the current conundrum by being smarter and slicker than you already are is preposterous. It may buy you time with clients who want assurances that you know what you’re doing, but in the end, you’re only shooting holes in a boat that’s already sinking.

There IS life beyond mass marketing, and the really wise agency people — like Edelman and Denuo — understand this and are working to shift their clients into the new, customer-in-charge paradigm. What “moves” people here? Honesty, transparency, respect, and other human traits that engender trust without manipulation.

It’s a million miles from putting a new coat of paint on a tired, old building.

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