Friday, August 2, 2013

The Post-Verbal Era of Advertising and Mass Communication

One limitation of American advertising is that it is too word oriented.  Marketing managers often superficially concentrate on looking for identical wording across their value propositions, creative work plans, the creative work itself, copy tests, and advertising tracking studies. Copyediting is a more easily accessible literal endeavor, while imagery and metaphor call for greater depth of thinking.

Indeed, some seem to be educated to avoid, or even fear, communication via metaphor and visualization. And, of course, it is easier to conduct tests that merely detect the recognition or recall of a phrase.

Now this tendency is about to become even more self-limiting as we enter what I call the “Post-Verbal Era of Advertising and Mass Communication.”  It has long been said a picture is worth a thousand words. And now, the mass communication world is defined by electronic media that privilege visual communication.

Hence, in focusing on word-based communication, both communicators and media operators will find themselves in increasingly marginal positions. This is the concern of Facebook when it acquired Instagram, and the limitation of Twitter when compared to the capabilities of more versatile micro-blog services such as Sina Weibo.

In contrast, Pinterest and other media that provide welcome environments for appreciation of design and visual communication are poised for success.

These developments set the stage for the latest McDonalds advertising, created by an agency in France.

Some have noted this work for an absence of "overt branding," but such observations fail to account for our changing media environment. 

Evidence that McDonalds clearly understands the new realities is the inclusion of the fish sandwich wrapper as a natural way to include the brand on what might be seen as a more generic photo of their fish sandwich.  

Branding is now all about what I call "ownership of product category visualization."  

The race is on. 

Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. And certainly not relying on language allows the advertising to be shared so easily among different countries and cultures. I'm amazed at how many people who I am connected to on Facebook for game playing and on Pinterest for beauty products who are from all over the world.