Before I go into my thoughts about the AIGA NY’s Your AD Here talk, I want to make clear that the criticism is not directed to those that organized the event. I’ve been there where you put a lot of time and effort into a talk and the volunteers hope that at the end of the night the audience has gone home with some new ideas…
I’ve never left a design lecture early, but I did tonight for the first time. I think there’s at least three reasons that I can point to my disappointment – though there’s probably a lot more. 1. The moderator asked irrelevant questions, 2. some of the panelists provided irrelevant answers, 3. maybe I am looking for inspiration at the wrong talks – yeah, I wish I went to the Henry Jenkins and Steven Johnson conversation at the Museum of the Moving Image.
The panel was moderated by Randall Rothenberg with Jane Hope, Gary Koepke, Neil Powell, and Brian Collins. I had a couple expectations going into the talk – I wanted to hear something new, how they applied “it”, and to answer the basic premise of what forward-thinking integrated marketing solutions are. I really didn’t get any of that tonight. It was disappointing but true that this talk could have easily happened ten years ago which suggested to me that four of the five people on stage might not really be interacting with what is going on today outside of their own fish bowl. The reason why I would single Brian out was that I think he is the only person on the panel that could claim that people have blogged and just talked about a campaign that truly made people believe in something that he was a part of. That something of course is the Dove campaign that many, many people have talked about. I don’t think it was lost on anyone that people clapped when he asked if anyone had heard of the campaign. I hesitate to use the word campaign as it is more than just that. Each of the other people got a brief chance to mention a campaign that they were proud of: a phone company in Canada (Telus), a SUV company (Hummer), and a beer that I’ve never drank. Now, which one would you want to be associated with?
If there was one thing to take away from the talk, it is those that are taking an active role in communication today have a real chance to win big soon. It is only a matter of time before those that are really stirring things up and asking the right questions are going to be able to talk with those in business who understand that what worked ten years ago will not work today and tomorrow.