Russell Davies: Secondary Attention & The Coming Super Abundance Of Screens

The Head of Planning at Ogilvy argues that we need to stop designing media that by default tries to grab all the available attention and start experimenting by playing with modes like glancing rather than staring.

We’ve been lucky enough to work with Kevin on some second screen thinking and one of the things he’s made me realise is – it’s not the nature of the screen that’s important, it’s the nature of the attention. Secondary Attention is a different beast and one we’ll have to think about differently.

Our default habit is to design media that trys to grab all the available attention. (Normally meaning all the optical attention.) And that’s getting us into trouble. It’s why Dentsu/BERG’s work here is so clever -it’s designed to be respectful of our primary attention, offering something quick, quiet, useful or rewarding in the moments we can spare it some mind. That’s why it offers such an attractive alternative to the Blade Runner/Cillit Bang scenario.

Those of us with backgrounds in advertising should already be thinking about this because we’ve all read Robert Heath on Low Attention Processing and should have realised how much we can communicate with someone who’s not really watching. But, it seems, we can’t learn those lessons, we refuse to be humble and quiet. We want all the attention, for as long as possible.

And, Kevin’s presentation here, made me wonder if that’s part of the problem with AR. It’s trying to insert itself right in the middle of your primary attention when a lot of the stuff it’s trying to deliver is only worthy of being around the edges.

So maybe what’s actually interesting now is experimenting with secondary attention, in various different ways, playing with modes like glancing rather than staring.

Continue reading at Russell Davies’ Blog

Kindly republished with permission. Davies is Head of Planning at Ogilvy, a partner at RIG and a founder of Newspaper Club.

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