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Why we’ll see more creativity in the world, not less

August 20, 2010

The Ad Contrarian has a post explaining why advertising is crappy. His point is that doing a good job is hard. And he’s right.

The other problem is this: to do advertising, one only needs to put a sign on the door and start charging $10 for a logo and $100 for a print ad. At those prices, one could easily make the margins up in volume. Indeed, I’ve seen some people who just churn out print ads and brochures like they are t-shirts.

The result of these low priced communications is the damn clutter we spend our waking days trying to break through.

The lack of any kind of standards, or test, or anything that would stop otherwise uncreative hacks from adding to the clutter is a problem that will never really be resolved. So advertising will continue to be crappy.

But I don’t thinks it is because of a lack of creativity in the world. He thinks that creativity is rare. I think we haven’t been using it enough.

For the last half of the last century (and parts of this one) people of the so-called first world gave around 8 hours of day to the creativity sucking medium of TV.

This isn’t an anti-TV rant, I love TV.

But TV doesn’t ask anyone to create, just consume. If anyone has ever moaned that “there’s nothing on TV”, but still watched a Law and Order episode for the 8th time, then you understand the power of this medium, and the utter and complete devotion we give it.

But that’s changing.

The proliferation of tools that ask people to create (blogs, YouTube channels, Flickr photo streams, etc) allow people to create. My point is this, for the last 60 years, most people outside of creative professions weren’t creating. They were consuming. Now people can easily create mashups, videos, podcasts, blogs, posts, art work…etc.

Admittedly, when masses go from being passive consumers to active creators, there’s going to be a load of crappy stuff. Loads of it. But as  but some of the good stuff breaks through this clutter of crap. I personally think that we’ll all get more creative as we all participate.

That will still mean a lot of clutter. But like in advertising, the good stuff breaks through.

Update: In a moment or serendipity, a LinkedIn group called Small Biz Nation, someone responded to a question about how much one should charge for a website. If this doesn’t add to clutter, then I don’t know what does:

Phillip Biel • At the risk of being condemned for not supporting small businesses in the US, I have spoken with a number of my clients who have used Mexican web development companies when creating a website. These Mexican developers will create, functionalize and maintain a very nice website for much less than we are able to do in the states – probably 1/2 the cost. A bit of caution is important though – if you pay the developer and they don’t deliver, you may be limited in your remedies or just plain out of luck.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 20, 2010 11:44 am

    I focus on internet marketing with my small company. I can tell you that when I started I was the only SEO shop around in my geographical area. Then almost overnight, every web developer in my area became an SEO expert. They posted a page talking about SEO, and magically, they added this service at premium prices. Some were smart enough to contact me and subcontract out the work, but many of these companies destroyed my market because they did such a poor jog that I now have to spend time explaining why it will be different with my company because “they already tried this and it didn’t work” type of resistance.

    Technology has definitely evened the playing field. People can purchase packages that do much of the ‘work’ for you but do they really know what they are doing. Technology advancement is the outsourcing of my industry. A person with access to some nice templates, style sheets, and stock photos can create some interesting work. But do they know how to do an A/B test on the subject line of an email campaign. Maybe they have the ability to do some testing with their Google Adwords account, but do they ever think of spending time each month testing new variations of ads? Usually not. Many of my small business clients treat their internet marketing activities like yellow page ads, they review it once a year and never really know what they should do when they review it (except listen to the yellow page sales rep and increase the ad size).

    This pressure is healthy though. A company with results should always be able to defeat a competitor in the market …. eventually.

    Good Hunting.

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