Of course there are brilliant people in advertising who ‘get it’ too. And blatantly you don’t have to be a web-obsessed geek to come up with interesting interactive ideas. But naturally it becomes easier to consider this world if you spend some time in it. So, at the very least, you understand a few of its basic rules.
It helps to appreciate what makes a great game. Or be able to feel the difference between a good application and a lousy one. To understand how important online relationships are to people. To have lived a day in Second Life before recommending it as the solution to a problem. To be a user who generates content and not a marketeer who just hypothesises about it. The list goes on…
I read an interesting quote recently, I forget where. But the point was that almost anyone could have a go at coming up with TV advertising ideas – we’ve all sat through so many commercials in our lives the techniques and language of TV ads are part of mainstream culture (I’ve got no doubt at all that they’d be second rate rubbish, but there’s something in the thought).
On the flipside, your average teenager with MySpace/Bebo/Facebook pages is way more qualified to come up with ideas around social networks than most boardrooms full of marketeers.
I think you get the point.
From what I can see, lots of the people who really live and love this stuff have taken refuge in small digital agencies. They wouldn’t survive in a place where their Internet access was subject to WPP Group firewalls (although they’d probably hack a way around it). They need to be allowed to run instant messenger and install applications on their own machines. They’re also more comfortable knowing that they can survive being just a little bit nerdy and their obscure cybercultural references will be understood by most people, not just the IT work experience guy.
Of course this will change, and I’ve got no idea where the talented young creatives who’ve lived their whole lives with this stuff will gravitate towards over the next few years. I’m guessing they’ll head for the places where they feel understood and the places with the best opportunities. Who knows whether these will be the same places?
If you’re excited by the possibilities of digital, there’s nothing like having a team around you who are all connected, online people. People who share an enjoyment of constant change and upheaval instead of fearing it.
Digital is fun.