Mad Men: How the Web Would Change Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce

The audiences as defined by the Mad Men of the 1950s and 1960s were borrowed from radio, print or television. The strategy for nearly every campaign Don Draper has whipped up was a variation of the theme: design an ad and place it adjacent to what people are reading or watching. In this sense, the audience, as defined by the Mad Men of the 1950s and 1960s, was in reality not the brand’s audience but borrowed from media. As one of the original Mad Men, Howard Gossage put it, “when advertising talks about its audience, it doesn’t mean its audience, it means somebody else gathered there to watch or read something else.”


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Mad Men kicked off its fifth season this week, and while the alcohol and smoke have (largely) cleared the air of the modern agency, many of the same departments, principals, and even clients have survived the last half-century. Placing an internet connection in the hands of Mad Men’s Don Draper is not only a fun thought experiment but also a useful way to articulate some of the major shifts in the industry, as well as follow the trajectory into the future.

Brand advertising in the 1950s and 1960s evolved in part to reproduce the feeling of familiarity consumers once had with product makers. The changes brought on by the industrial revolution triggered a shift in the way people bought products. The local bazaars, markets, and shopkeepers gave way to, first, chartered organizations and then corporations. Mass media helped to deliver a brand personality and relationship with consumers through radio and television before the new product hit the shelves. This model was built on brands as fictionalized narratives, the Marlboro Man and Aunt Jemima. The stuff of Mad Men.

The audiences as defined by the Mad Men of the 1950s and 1960s were borrowed from radio, print or television. The strategy for nearly every campaign Don Draper has whipped up was a variation of the theme: design an ad and place it adjacent to what people are reading or watching. In this sense, the audience, as defined by the Mad Men of the 1950s and 1960s, was in reality not the brand’s audience but borrowed from media. As one of the original Mad Men, Howard Gossage put it, “when advertising talks about its audience, it doesn’t mean its audience, it means somebody else gathered there to watch or read something else.”

This is an important shift because the audiences on Mad Men – the folks in the focus groups – have disappeared and in their place are humans with incredible editorial control over the brand and messages they encounter. NYU’s Jay Rosen has described this transformation as “the people formerly known as the audience.”

The integration of paid (borrowed audiences) to an earned media (adjacent content), and the brand as a content creator would usher in a wave of change through the halls of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Mad Men + Social Web: Three Ways the Agency Would Quickly Change Leer más “Mad Men: How the Web Would Change Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce”

We Can Do Better: The Overlooked Importance of Professional Journalism

This article is accompanied by examples of photojournalism, which is the practice of communicating news through photographs. The above photo of a 1940′s newsstand in New York City was taken by photojournalist Ruth Orkin

We, designers, go on all day about the usability of our WordPress layouts and the readability of our typography, but all of those things have been considered in vain if our writing is poorly spelled, riddled with inaccuracies, or based on second-hand assumptions that will leave our audience misled, confused, or worse. Even if you’re just casually writing about why you personally love/hate the iPad (for example), you can do so in a truthful way (truthful to your own opinions and truthful to the information you are discussing).

Whether or not you strive to produce writing that you consider journalism is not all that important. What is important is that no matter what writing genre you specialize in, you have a responsibility to your readers to publish high quality writing that is truthful, accurate, and readable. Oh, and this applies to your professional Twitter stream and Facebook updates, too. All of these elements have a reflection on you and your brand.

Trained professional journalists spend years studying the complex techniques and thorny philosophical values that define the trade of journalism, so don’t expect to receive a Master’s degree from Columbia by the end of this article. What this piece can serve as is a crash course designed to introduce concepts that will improve your writing, pique your interest, and instill a sense of respect for the fundamentals of a noble profession.


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The Web is a galaxy of information that is rapidly expanding. Blogs and online magazines are helping shape the future of this Information Age that we live in. Those of us who read, write and design blogs and online magazines possess extraordinary power and potential. How will we choose to use it?

If you use your website to publish news, events, opinions or interviews, you should familiarize yourself with the basics of journalism. These tools can help us develop and share information that is exciting, intelligent, and responsible. They can provide guidance and support as you pursue a career or hobby writing online.

Newsstand2 in We Can Do Better: The Overlooked Importance of Professional Journalism2

This article is accompanied by examples of photojournalism, which is the practice of communicating news through photographs. The above photo of a 1940′s newsstand in New York City was taken by photojournalist Ruth Orkin

We, designers, go on all day about the usability of our WordPress layouts and the readability of our typography, but all of those things have been considered in vain if our writing is poorly spelled, riddled with inaccuracies, or based on second-hand assumptions that will leave our audience misled, confused, or worse. Even if you’re just casually writing about why you personally love/hate the iPad (for example), you can do so in a truthful way (truthful to your own opinions and truthful to the information you are discussing).

Whether or not you strive to produce writing that you consider journalism is not all that important. What is important is that no matter what writing genre you specialize in, you have a responsibility to your readers to publish high quality writing that is truthful, accurate, and readable. Oh, and this applies to your professional Twitter stream and Facebook updates, too. All of these elements have a reflection on you and your brand.

Trained professional journalists spend years studying the complex techniques and thorny philosophical values that define the trade of journalism, so don’t expect to receive a Master’s degree from Columbia by the end of this article. What this piece can serve as is a crash course designed to introduce concepts that will improve your writing, pique your interest, and instill a sense of respect for the fundamentals of a noble profession.

What is Journalism? Leer más “We Can Do Better: The Overlooked Importance of Professional Journalism”

Helping Journalists Become Hackers and Entrepreneurs

Journalism schools are useful for many things, including research into ethical standards, traditional skill development, and so on — but increasingly, some journalism schools are focusing just on building their students’ digital chops and entrepreneurial spirit alongside interview etiquette and the correct use of the off-the-record comments. One of the most recent projects in that vein is called Local East Village, a joint venture between the New York University’s journalism school and the New York Times that launched on Monday.

The website describes the venture as an attempt to “help foster a journalistic collaboration with a third partner, our neighbors in the East Village,” and to “give voice to its people in a wide-reaching online public forum and create a space for our neighbors to tell stories about themselves.” As NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen — who helped create the project — notes in his blog post about the launch, the area of the city that the site aims to cover is already well-covered by local blogs, but the LEV site states that it hopes to bring the “academic and intellectual resources of NYU [and] the vast journalistic experience and high professional standards of The Times.” It also adds that:

We hope, too, to provide innovation: For years now the lines between those who produce news and those who consume it have become increasingly blurred. And so we hope to bring our readers even more into the process of producing news in ways that few other sites have tried before.


Journalism schools are useful for many things, including research into ethical standards, traditional skill development, and so on — but increasingly, some journalism schools are focusing just on building their students’ digital chops and entrepreneurial spirit alongside interview etiquette and the correct use of the off-the-record comments. One of the most recent projects in that vein is called Local East Village, a joint venture between the New York University’s journalism school and the New York Times that launched on Monday.

The website describes the venture as an attempt to “help foster a journalistic collaboration with a third partner, our neighbors in the East Village,” and to “give voice to its people in a wide-reaching online public forum and create a space for our neighbors to tell stories about themselves.” As NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen — who helped create the project — notes in his blog post about the launch, the area of the city that the site aims to cover is already well-covered by local blogs, but the LEV site states that it hopes to bring the “academic and intellectual resources of NYU [and] the vast journalistic experience and high professional standards of The Times.” It also adds that:

We hope, too, to provide innovation: For years now the lines between those who produce news and those who consume it have become increasingly blurred. And so we hope to bring our readers even more into the process of producing news in ways that few other sites have tried before.

One of the most interesting features of the project is what it calls the “Virtual Assignment Desk,” which is an application — essentially a plugin for the WordPress blog-hosting platform, which the site uses to publish its content — developed by a team led by Daniel Bachhuber, who is the digital media manager for the City University of New York graduate journalism school. The plugin makes it easy for anyone who wants to contribute to the site to see what stories or events need to be covered, so that they can volunteer. Readers can vote on the topics or news stories they want to see covered as well. Leer más “Helping Journalists Become Hackers and Entrepreneurs”