A while back I spoke at Marketing Arena about the idea of Noise Brands: short-term, opportunistic brands built, Japanese style, on whatever is trendy at the moment. My idea did not catch with the audience but another one involving e-books, e-readers and the ability to place ads and comments into e-books seemed more convincing.
Recently I have been thinking about where technology is taking us, and also how, as human beings operating in given spaces, we are able to cope with this.
Consider my premises, which are simple and straight-forward: we used to operate within large expanses of space (we see ads in OOH format, we build mental images of brands based on imagery spilled out on planes and huge frontispieces), we are used to receiving information on uni-vocal channels, (images from TV, words from written pages without any other con-textual information, teletext never really caught on, nor did in-built multi-screen viewing). And then along comes the www and we have to start dealing with smaller screens, more than one type of information per screen, changing information per reload, multi windows etc etc. This is confusing and unexpected for the human brain. My mother is unable to follow the scroll bar on the computer screen with a mouse and she cannot grasp the concept of windows. She also does not see, literally, any of the banners in any Internet page she opens for a very simple reason: she is looking for text because, to her, the Internet is... a bigger book. Hence she is "blind" to any non-textual content displayed.
And now, my question is as follows: is the technology supporting the Internet, with its limited spacial display capabilities, able to support the huge amount of information we are trying to place on it? The iPhone is a hit because it makes browsing easy: meaning its lets the user slide seamlessly among dozens of pages of information and mind you, that is NOT a small screen for a phone.
Why did I start with the e-book? Because I wonder - what with e-reading becoming the new hit and the Apple tablet on the way (fingers crossed) - if we are not trying to cram too much into a simple act already. With Google's visual search, live search and word tagging apps e-texts can virtually become an exploded wikipedia, with EVERY word operating as a pretext for extra information. This information can be referential or ad-driven. And then it will be up to the user to fight the flood.
And I hope also up to the advertisers to not abuse the technological opportunities.
communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.