I’m in the business of people.
Arguably if you sell, make, produce or create products then you are too.
And people are in trouble.
We have become distracted by the tsunami of crap we all produce.
Only last week, did I hear a report that children now spend more time on the internet than watching TV (which was already pretty high).
It seems like as a species we are perplexed by our own inability to put down our phones.
But if we look back 200,000 years to the dawn of modern man on the Eastern plains of Africa it isn’t really that surprising.
We had to be alert both visually and aurally. We constantly scanned the horizon and the peripheries for signs of either prey or predators.
In this world, noticing stuff meant the difference between being a meal or getting one.
We are hardwired as a species to notice things. Technology preys on this.
The pings, the buzzes, the alerts, the flashing lights, the bells and all of the whistles.
All at the periphery, all a distraction you cannot ignore.
I was having a conversation with my husband the other day about some important life thing and as we were talking his phone bleeped. He immediately reached for his pocket and pulled out his phone.
“It could have been important” his retort.
It was a scrabble alert.
We live in a world where life decisions can be trumped by Scrabble. Or Facebook. Or Candy Crush.
Two conclusions. Either he was bored as fuck by our chat or we are anthropologically incapable of looking away.
For the sake of my ego, let’s go with anthropology.
When there is trouble, there is always a marketing opportunity. Right now, it seems as though this marketing opportunity has gone un-noticed.
It is a profoundly humbling experience to see a big splashy campaign with media budgets of considerable proportions reduced to ‘a learning experience’, by consumers who don’t see it, get it or want it.
We are living in an attention-grabbing arms race, where a man walking down a street in hot pants and high heels to a catchy tune is the current victor.
More is more. More content, more stories, more engagement, more neon, more flashing lights, more attention grabbing headlines.
What if people don’t want more engagement? What if they don’t want their attentions wrestled from them at gunpoint?
In my experience, no normal human being I talk to outside London has ever said that what was really missing in their life was more meaningful conversations with their deodorant brand.
Spend some time with the actual world and you start seeing real life problems, not ones brands wished we all had. The thing about an arms race is that you stop looking at the actual problem and you become obsessed with just staying ahead of your competitor. More is more.
But more is not more, people are in trouble. Which brand is going to solve that?