Friday, 2 May 2014

Changing the world is the only fit work for a grown man – Steve Harrison 2009

Gossage is often credited with invening interactive advertising before it was interactive.
But this book shows that there is more to it.

Modern interactive advertising means often not interaction but clicks and likes or get them to product content for you (whatever that means). For Gossage the fun and the greatness of interaction is in taking people serious. Doing something worthwhile with their contributions. Respond to what they write or do and elevate it. To a place we couldn’t reach ourselves. This way, all of his famous campaign are prime examples of building communities (real communities of interest rather than facebook groups).

“In contrast, Weiner & Gossage was less an agency and more a mix of social club and symposium. (…) Very often long conversations had nothing to do with the clients’ business: people were invited to drop in and just spend the day in animated discussion with the agency boss.” (Harrison, 2009, p.33).

“People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.” (Gossage in Harrison, 2009, p.46). “Here he is explaining that approach: “We can do one ad at a time. Literally, that’s the way we do it. We do one advertisement and then wait to see what happens; and then we do another advertisement. Oh, sometimes we get way ahead and do three. But when we do, we often have to change the third one before it runs. Because if you put out an advertisement that creates activity, or response, or involves the audience, you will find that something has happened that changes the character of the succeeding ads.” (Harrison, 2009, p.58).

“If, as Norbert Wiener asserted, feedback is a method of controlling a system by reinserting into it the results of its performance then, to Gossage, the adman and the audience were linked into one inclusive information loop, and the feedback that came round that loop enabled the adman to write ever more interesting and involving communications.” (Harrison, 2009, p.61).

“”Gossage was certainly influenced by information loops and the whole theory that things went out and came back and went out and came back to you, and I think that’s what he tried to exploit. And in a way I think it was a way of overcoming the loneliness of modern times.” (Harrison, 2009, p.61).

“This waiting for feedback put Gossage under extreme pressure. As his wife Sally recalls. “He was always under the gun because he didn’t write a whole campaign ahead or anything like that. He’d get inspired to write one piece, and he would wait and see what the response was. But it always came and it always fed him, and he would be up all hours fashioning the next one.”” (Harrison, 2009, p.62).

““I will go further and say that it is not only wrong to attempt to influence an audience without involving it but it is unethical and dishonest.”” (Harrison quoting Gossage, 2009, p.62).

“Answer: the humble coupon.” (Harrison, 2009, p.63). “He’d put one in that said we’re not expecting you to buy anything, just write to us some time and tell us how things are going’. That was a coupon! And he would spring off of things that people wrote in and write another ad that said ‘Bob from Dallas just wrote to us …’ He would make an ad out of the last thing that happened. It was very interactive and very much like what happens on the internet.” (Harrison quoting Jeff Goodby, 2009, p.63).

“”Never confuse the message with the product”. By that he meant that while the advertisement might be for a certain product, it wasn’t necessary for the ad to be about the product. “(Harrison, 2009, p.64).

 “In defining a “pseudo-event”, Boorstin could easily have easily have been describing any one of Gossage’s ideas: “It is planted primarily (not always exclusively) for the immediate purpose of being reported or reproduced. Therefore, its occurrence is arranged for the convenience of the reporting or reproducing media. Its success is measured by how widely it is reported.” (Harrison, 2009, p.81).

“Reality is not what happens but is controlled by what is written.” (Harrison, 2009, p.82).

 “As Gossage explained, most advertising hitched a ride on the back of such media as newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. It was advertising’s jobto catch the audience’s attention by being as interesting, if not more so, than the content around it. But, as he argued, in the case of billboards the content around it was the countryside or the cityscape. And no “media owner” had the right to sell that media because the view that the billboard was interrupting belonged to the people.” (Harrison, 2009, p.87).

“McLuhan asserted that electronic Media were an extension of our central nervous system. (…) they gave us a shared sensitivity and sensibility that cut across such barriers as nationality, geography and gender.” (Harrison, 2009, p.94).

 “”Let the audience in on the gag. Better still, let them know that you know that they know; this makes it cozier and much more involving. You see, the objective is not fun and games, but warmth and community of interest.” (Harrison, 2009, p.106).

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