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George Parker: New York, New York, It’s a Hell of a Town!

George Parker: New York, New York, It’s a Hell of a Town!
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George Parker is the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com. Every week he shares his opinions on the advertising world with PSFK.

George Parker
  • 13 october 2009


So, to all the unfortunate Adverati destined to while away their days amongst the concrete canyons of New York City. Or, as the Hollywood cowboys used to say in the abysmal “Pace Piquante” chip dip commercials, which aired long before you were born… Nu Yark Zitty! You are now hopefully recovering from “Advertising Week.” A faux cultural experience involving various events where you get stalked by out of work actors dressed as Mr. Peanut, Chiquita Banana and Josephine the Plumber, all supposedly representing immortal and well loved ad icons that anyone under the age of thirty has no recollection of whatsoever. Just like the long forgotten Pace Piquante cowboys.

And, if you were completely brain dead, or on Proctor & Gambles payroll, (same thing really) you probably signed up for numerous seminars and study groups, all at great company expense, so you could be told for the umpteenth time how you really need to jump aboard the social media bandwagon.

Yet, in my humble opinion, in spite of the incessant drum beating in its favor, the opportunities for smart marketers in social media don’t lie in creating Twitter profiles or Facebook pages, then seeing how many friends and followers you can amass. And it’s not about iPhone or Facebook apps, pumping out viral videos, or paying bloggers to hype your shit (which could cost you big-time in the future!) No, it’s simply about two way conversations… And yes, I know you’ve heard that statement a million fucking times, perhaps because it’s true. But I would also hasten to add my ten cents worth to the mix. The only way you can engender a worthwhile conversation is by offering good content in the first place. I mean, who wants to engage in a chat with an obviously shilling churl?

Which is why most BDA’s (Big Dumb Agencies) don’t get it when they desperately make efforts to drag themselves into twenty first century relevancy. ‘Cos they continue to come at new media from an old media point of view. They continue to talk “at” the prospective consumer, rarely considering that sometimes they might be better served by listening.

Even more tragically, what BDA’s choose to ignore is the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room. i.e. Based on the traditional agency model, and the huge overhead and infrastructure costs involved, they can only make money talking “at” the consumer. Because being forced into engaging in conversations via all forms of new media necessarily negates convincing increasingly jaundiced clients into blowing shitloads of money on big TV and print campaigns with their associated commissions.

Which is why the irony of New York’s “Advertising Week,” was that virtually the entire buzz was about the very mechanisms that will probably destroy the traditional “Madison Avenue” business model. Perhaps, in years to come, the only remnants of that will be when we settle down with our Scotch, cigarette and bimbo secretary on our knee to watch series twelve of “Mad Men.”

George Parker is the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com, without doubt, one of the most foul and annoying, piss & vinegar ad blogs on the planet. His new book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, has just been published by Amazon and is currently setting the ether ablaze. He will continue to relentlessly promote the crap out of it until you are forced to stab yourself in the eyes with knitting needles.

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