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The Usual Suspects

IoT, self-drive cars, algorithms, and The Blogfather Uber-bashing. Some things never change... or do they?

The Blogfather looks at the absurdity of Man, Marketing and Advertising as we find ourselves on the threshold of 2017, and mulls on what it could hold for us of a creative persuasion.

Well, it's that time of year again, where we are inundated with review pieces for the year that's currently in its death throes, coupled with predictions for the year to come.

2016. That once-round-the-sun joy ride. Oh, Twenty Sixteen. RIP David Bowie, Prince, and Apple's headphone jack. Donald Trump emerged from what was initially merely disconcerting buffoonery to become the leader of U.S, thanks largely to divisive rhetoric more inflammatory than a Samsung Note 7.

Most households are holding their doors open to the (admittedly mild) winter, beckoning and shepherding in 2017 ahead of time. Ah, but it wasn't all bad, was it? Even though I surely wasn't alone in lamenting that unexpectedly shocking early exit from Europe; Spurs failing to get out of the Champion's League group stage, there were some highs, yes?

It would be remiss of me to not talk about Facebook in a review/prediction mash up. I was talking to a dear friend who has thrown themselves head first into the behemoth channel that is Facebook advertising in recent months. It's seems largely uninspiring. But I have learned something; all people want to do is look at food porn and tag their mates to it. Maybe there is beauty to the simplicity. There is certainly something to be gleaned from all this, and it recalls to mind our Gasp 6 Fails, "The means with which we communicate, the channels, change and evolve. But the speed of human evolution is much slower; our base characteristics, wants and needs remain constant."

"The means with which we communicate, the channels, change and evolve. But the speed of human evolution is much slower; our base characteristics, wants and needs remain constant."
Gasp's Six Fails

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Mark Ritson talks very well on Facebook (and other things) in his end of year piece for Marketing Week. There's no doubt that man's futile search for meaning and truth in Facebook's algorithm's and metrics continues. Akin to Camus' Sisyphus, who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, we are blindly boosting our posts to everyone aged 16-34 who likes Nando's and the Fast & Furious movies within a 16km radius of Stoke, in the vain hope of increasing engagement and miraculously selling more waffles.

Of course I jest; there is a trial and error art to it all, but it is a little like a walled garden with a massive maze in the middle. Communication between people should be simple. Facebook can't stay out of the news currently, fake or otherwise, and 2017 will undoubtedly see them held to account a lot more as people seek more transparency on pretty much bloody everything they do.

So what else might 2017 have in store for us? Well, here is something that won't happen; the self-drive car being widely available on our roads. No chance. Uber has in recent days admitted there is a problem with it's autonomous vehicles; namely, that it's inclined to runs over cyclists. Uber are having enough trouble convincing their customers to get into their cars, lest they get offered out for a fight or class A drugs, let alone driving them home purely using technology. It's a little like the Amazon Go store we blogged on recently.

But 2017 could well see a combination of the following happen:

Twitter will continue to fall away. It is common to hear in marketing chats that Twitter advertising is simply a complete waste of time. When compared with the quite staggering numbers Facebook is putting up for ad revenue, the change in fortunes of these social media giants is huge across the last 12 or so months. Twitter can serve you well in a customer service function. And trolling, say, Chris Eubank. That's it. And they recently killed off Vine too, which was harmless fun. Eye roll emoji.

...we are blindly boosting our posts to everyone aged 16-34 who likes Nando's and the Fast & Furious movies within a 16km radius of Stoke, in the vain hope of increasing engagement...

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“The one thing every successful marketer needs — and the one thing agencies can provide better than anyone else — is imaginative ideas about brands.” Bob Hoffman.

But what else for 2017...ah yes! *The Blogfather finds notes scribbled down whilst on the sauce at the Gasp Christmas party*

1. A Samsung talking fridge at a 2017 Internet of Things conference will racially abuse all the Japanese attendants and set back Korean-Japan relations 30 years.

2. Microsoft ads will still be shite.

3. The Gambling Industry will start to come under heavier advertising regulation.

4. 'Archaeologists find evidence that an ancestor of Donald Trump built the Great Wall of China to keep all ethnic Chinese spreading into North America' to appear on Facebook as a fake real fake real news story.

5. The emergence of a genuine disruptor to Facebook's stranglehold on social media advertising.

6. And what for agencies like us lot at Gasp? With the likes of Unilever moving to zero based budgeting, and McDonald's employing an agency where all services, including media, are being supplied at cost in an essentially 100% performance based contract, we may well have to work harder to justify the investment in an agency.

But that's OK if you are good enough. I don't mind on occasions directing you off Gasp piste, as it were, and this piece on the devaluation of creativity by Bob Hoffman is well worth a read. Amongst all the talk of algorithms and analytics, it is worth remembering the precious commodity of genuine creativity. 

And so, as I listen to Joy Division's 'Love Will tear Us Apart' whilst proof reading my blog one last time, I'll wish you a joylessous Christmas, a peaceful, prosperous New Year, and some food for thought, to accompany your turkey sandwich: “The one thing every successful marketer needs — and the one thing agencies can provide better than anyone else — is imaginative ideas about brands.” - Bob Hoffman.

 


 

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