Sunday, November 2, 2008

Could Don Draper Make it in a Digital World?

The playing field for PR and advertising is constantly changing. AMC's award winning TV show "Mad Men" offers a (fictional?) glimpse into the advertising world of the early 1960's. The dramatic series takes a certain pleasure in revisiting that oh-so politically incorrect age where drinking on the job seems mandatory, pregnant women smoke like their life depends on it and sexual harassment is just another charming part of office culture.

Mad Men is certainly not a documentary but there is more than a little truth to its portrayal of office life.

The main character, Don Draper, represents the best of 60's advertising. In the following clip he gives his take on why ads work:

Could Don Draper hack it in the digital age? Not with that attitude. Draper's POV is the antithesis of the Web 2.0 environment. Not only are people not looking to be told what to do but they are actively taking control of who they listen to.

For example, Joshua Porter dissects the various ways that allows their customers to take control of who they listen to in his book Designing for the Social Web.

According to the book Groundswell nearly half of all online U.S. adults are "spectators" (pg. 44 fig. 3-3), meaning they read, watch and listen to content, reviews and ratings added by other users. "Spectators" sounds passive but these users are actively choosing what they read/watch/listen to. On the net, unlike television, the user needs to seek out the content they consume.

The mediums for getting out your company's message will continue to change but one thing that will probably always stay the same is that customers/people just want to be happy.

On second thought, Draper could probably catch up.

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