Jun 14, 2007

It's Different Out There

Meanwhile over at Linked In, Mat (not Matt, mind you) Zucker, an interactive CD, uses the new "Answers" feature to ask the perfectly valid question of why so much internet advertising sucks. (I think the PC word he used was "mediocre" but we all know what he really meant.)

And while a few people correctly identified the main reason (internet creative generally sucks because too much of it is created by former actors, PR people, journalists, DM writers and the like who are just passing time while they write the Great American Novel/Screenplay. In other words, no one who's got much of a vested interest in making sure it's great... though that is thankfully changing.)

I'll even give credence to the secondary reason mentioned: since much banner advertising is subject to testing and rewritten to increase click-through, creativity is not really a priority there.

But reading through the responses, I was shocked to see that a number of people were blaming the bad writing solely on general advertising people who had the temerity to try writing for the web. Because, they claimed, they only knew how to write "linear" copy that involves a "one-way conversation" (All quotes are real.) One knucklehead even claimed that while ad writers were the internet's ruination, people who write TV shows and movies were ideally suited for writing for the web. Because everybody knows that crafting an episode of "Suddenly, Susan" or "Everybody Loves Raymond" makes one ideally suited to create banners and websites.

Oy.

More troubling though, was the tonality of the aforementioned responses, which all focused on the fact that the web was a different medium than TV or print and thus needed a different skill set. And this was all stated in a somber tone AS IF THE FUCKING IDIOT WHO WAS WRITING IT WAS THE FIRST ONE TO EVER THINK OF THIS.

I mean the web is a different medium than TV. Go figure.

And the fact that it is a different medium might require a different approach. Go figure again.

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, this is the thing that kills me about the Web Squad. They constantly proclaim the obvious as their latest brilliant insight. As if no one had ever heard of customer service before they started demanding that companies respond to bloggers who dis their products online and calling it "joining the conversation."

Take this from my favorite Web Squad whipping boy, New Media Jaffe's site. NMJ is contemplating switching to Mac and invites his readers to come up and spend the afternoon with him teaching him about Macs in exchange for a free lunch.
Kind of like asking your friends to help you move in exchange for free beer and pizza.
Only one of the knuckleheads on there actually responds, with no sarcasm:
I think your idea to have someone familiarize you with Mac and offer them lunch and a spot on the 'cast is genius.
Genius? As if NMJ was the first one in the world to offer his friends lunch in exchange for some sort of help.

Oy. When they roll, they sure roll big.

PS: Before you all get your Star Wars boxers in a twist, in the past year or so there's been a lot of progress on the internet advertising front. Both in terms of getting good people to work there, paying equitable salaries and the type of work that's being done. There's also a lot more real integration of disciplines. But I don't think you're who Mat-with-one-t, was talking about.

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