Sunday, March 22, 2009

Advertising Creative Director... NOT!

Lately I've noticed that when people ask me what I do for a living, I am stumped.

A year ago, I was quite content to say I was an Advertising Creative Director. Now, I really choke on that.

"Great creative" now means great content. Push marketing (advertising) is losing relevance to pull marketing (search). Marketing copy is being replaced by something approaching genuine journalism.

Ad campaigns are less relevant than useful, searchable information.

The web is different, and the old advertising and marketing formulas don't work online.

"Lack" campaigns... where you neg your audience, then offer your product as a solution to the implied problem, are impossible to pull off in a world where customers with real, self-identified problems reflexively go online to solve them.

"Aspirational" campaigns where gorgeous people are depicted doing enviable things just don't work at 200 pixels wide and 72 dpi. Tiny, little, low-res people don't make anyone want to be them.

"Shock" campaigns, the kind that always dominated the award annuals, where you essentially flash your audience with the company logo tattooed on your, er, marketing vehicle, are annoying on the web.

Interruption marketing is intolerable online. "Sell" copy is unbearable, like a bore at the party. It doesn't take much effort to click away, and people do.

And with broadcast and publishing breaking down, there are fewer and fewer places to reach people offline.

So where does that leave me as an "award-winning advertising creative director"?

I'm not sure what parts of my skillset are still useful. Maybe the most important thing is that I know what doesn't work anymore.