Blogs. Borrrrrrinnggggg.

June 30, 2008

Yep. That’s how a 20+ year veteran of the advertising and creative industry ended a 500+ word rant on his corporate blog, about how he “hates blogs” and decries them as a “self-aggrandizing fad”.  Wasn’t the internet, and television once called a “fad”? He equates those that read, follow, and comment on other blogs as “new-media groupies.”  He just doesn’t get it.  It’s a shame really.  It is another case of a creative talent, responsible for the promotion, innovation, and differentiation of the brands that his clients entrust him with, who can’t adapt to the future.


I know Advertising is all about the interruption approach, and has been forever.  TV commercials, radio spots, full-page glossies in magazines, and billboards – all mediums going through a whirlwind paradigm shift which will reshape and recreate the media field at the speed of light.  These methods don’t work and customers “get it”.  Sadly, some agency owners do not. 


The customer realizes that they have the power.  They can Tivo out your commercials, block your pop-ups, and block out all of your attempts to push your catchy jingle or edgy catch phrase.  They realize that your four-color glossy ad is in that magazine specifically because you paid to place it there.  Oh, and please do me a favor, and stop trying to disguise your paid ad as an advertorial!  That’s just insulting our intelligence.


They want to be engaged in a discussion rather than pitched to.  So what would be a first step down that path?  How about engaging your potential customers in a conversation?  How about you open up your pitch, your claims of “new” and “improved”, to the feedback and comments of your audience?  Could your product and brand survive that?  If it truly is what is says it is – then it will survive.  Otherwise it could be trashed and trampled.


Blogs can open up your brand to discussions, especially if you accept comments.  Even if the comments call out a shortcoming (if there is a shortcoming that needs correction), it is better to have them do so while you are paying attention to them and have the opportunity to make the change, rather than find out these shortcomings as the blog author puts it: “I figure I’ll hear about our shortcomings by our clients walking out the door.”  By then, it’s too late.  They are on to your competition.


The advertising exec blog author (the irony of him blogging about how he hates blogs is just too sublime!) goes on to say that corporate blogs are the worst offenders – “And the corporate blog is the worst because it’s just a big PR tactic that is so very transparent.”  Amen to that.  He has just stated the key principal has to be integral to every communications campaign: transparency. 


You can’t hide behind the spin and shine.  You’ll be called out as the Emperor with no clothes.  People want transparency.  Target got called out because they were enticing people to rave about them in the social online communities. They want to feel they can get to know you and your brand.


A blog lets your audience get to “know” you a bit better, by reading about what you care about on your blog.  They can encounter your “parroting” of your company’s reports, or your pitches, just like anyone you speak with, whether online or in a face to face meeting.  They can also encounter your expertise, knowledge, experience, opinion, tastes, likes, competence, and so on.  A website is a great place for your audience to find and interact with you, if there are the right tools to do so.  A blog is one of those tools.


I spoke to a group of business professionals last week that were skeptical yet eager to learn about how blogs are being used today and whether or not they should have a blog or even recommend blogs to their clients (they are consultants).  I was impressed by shared inquisitiveness and curiosity, and most of all with their ability to embrace this new form of communication. They wanted to join in the discussion.


I think advertising will ultimately survive – there will always be a need for creative content, but it will have to move to the new communication mediums, and become on demand rather than an interruption.  Agencies, the slow ones, refusing to be nimble and embrace the changes and keep with the times, will be culled from the herd.  Those that embrace and innovate will be the ones setting their brands truly above the buzz.  What do you think? Leave a comment. Start a conversation. Engage!


  1. Great entry! Unfortunately the old dudes in suits are really set in their ways and don’t quite understand the new media and how it works. They don’t get that people want conversation and relationships in order to be engaged with a product or service – born of scepticism and mistrust around the old dudes in suits have managed their companies!

  2. While I do understand a traditional agencies reluctance to promote new media (They don’t know anything about it so they really shouldn’t be selling it to their clients) I also believe that this executive also shouldn’t be the one to cast judgement about these tools in a professional arena.

    In my experience it has been traditional media’s use of blogs that is ineffective. They are trying so hard to keep up with the smaller more tech savvy companies that they recommend the latest tech tools like blogging without knowing how to incorporate it effectively into their strategy. Then when it doesn’t work they judge the tool in an attempt to avoid blame.

    You’re right when you say that traditional media isn’t going anywhere but the companies that can’t adapt and evolve may eventually find themselves in a much smaller market.

  3. […] en Twitter) trae otro dato interesante al debate en su columna sobre Blogs que son Aburridos (Blogs Borrrriiinnng) según la definción de un conocido ejecutivo de una gran agencia de publicidad. Christopher se […]

  4. Christopher. This situation is even worse in Latin America, where social media technologies have not yet been embraced by the audiences as much as in the USA. But there´s a big buzz about the need to have experts in social media in PR and ad agencies as well as in house. I liked your ideas and shared them with my Latin American audiences in my blog: http://larabersano.wordpress.com/

    Lara Bersano

  5. Christopher – What a great post. Unfortunately the folks charged with making decisions about embracing new technologies are often the last ones who should be making those decisions. I don’t think “old white guys” are necessarily the culprit. I’ve been in marketing and PR for 20 years and I see the social media and mobile media opportunities (and the ultimate convergence of the two) as the next internet for marketers. I think a strong intellectual curiosity to understand the trends in our business is all you really need to get on board.


    Daniel Durazo

  6. […] everything else in life, the results are commensurate with the effort.  Too many business blogs are left to wither on the vine due to lack of attention.  Ignoring an audience is the best way to […]

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