10 Reasons Why Digital is Better Than Advertising

Photo borrowed from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurelfan/46008873/

I started writing this list of 10 things after I chaired a debate at the D&AD about ‘Consumers In Control’ which basically turned into a mass venting of frustrations from people working in both digital and traditional advertising. It’s obvious that there’s lots of conflicting opinions and lots of repressed anger.

Originally I’d written this as one big long monster post. But I think it works better as a series – it means that people can comment on each point individually and I can be attacked point-by-point rather than in one big monster onslaught. I do welcome any comments positive or negative, but this isn’t supposed to be deliberately inflammatory, honest.

I’m going to release them roughly one-a-day.

A couple of caveats, hopefully to pre-empt any real hatred that this might inspire:

Firstly. I’m going to have to put forward my definition of ‘digital’. As it stands digital is a bit of a duff word to describe what we do, as Richard says when he talks about ‘not getting digital’:

When they say ‘digital’ do they mean that they embrace digital means of communicating information? Funny but I am struggling to find some non-digital means of communication.

He’s absolutely right. Almost everything is digital which is why it’s so difficult to get this point across.

So let me clarify. The digital world I love is all about:

  • Interaction – 2-way or more.
  • Things that connect stuff together – whether it’s people talking to people, people talking to machines (so the machines can give them services or information in return), machines talking to other machines (in order to make the stuff they know more powerful).
  • Environments – in the olden days of online lots of people used to talk about online as if it was a bunch of spaces, hence the language or architects, sitemaps, chatrooms, etc.
  • Digitisation – taking things that can be turned into zeros and ones and pumping them down wires in ways that make them more interesting than they were before. Youtube did with video. Napster and podcasting have done with audio. Flickr and photos. Skype & Voice. Maps. Directories. And I don’t think anyone can miss the effect that the web has had on text.

Secondly, it’s worth stating this is all opinion. My opinion. Born out of my experiences. Really I should have called this “10 reasons why I’m happier working in a digital agency than an advertising agency, and who gives a shit what I think anyway”. But that’s hardly snappy is it?

    Oh well, here comes reason one…

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