Jeremy Abelson Interviews Alex Bogusky for the Huffington Post from Jeremy Abelson on Vimeo.
On Friday, The Huffington Post published an interview with Alex Bogusky, which as far as we’re concerned, aims to tout social media and the supposed end of traditional (and whatever that means). We read between the lines, as you should too, because the piece reads like Bogusky is garnering his answers with his clients in mind. And why wouldn’t he?
That’s why if you want to know anything about advertising, the last person you should ask is Alex Bogusky. It’s written by Jeremy Abelson, co-founder of Samson’s Barber (a digital operation that calls itself the “Jesse James of digital space, and his finger is always on the trigger.”), who maybe has an agenda in getting Bogusky to make cogent remarks about all-things-not-super-digital-or-social-media-y being bad. Bogusky patently avoids that.
We’re not in his head, but if we were running CP+B’s creative (or anyone’s), there’s three things we’d never do publicly.
1) With clients like Microsoft, Burger King etc. etc. each of whom spends a lot of money on TV spots, we’re never say, “yeah TV is just a bad way to go. Stick with social media.” The aforementioned clients might not spend as much money on those things — and damnit, if they’re willing to pay for it, do it + 10%.
2) We’d never share anything we were planning on doing with the so-called hot new space (social media). Ever. We’d always talk about things as vaguely as possible. Competition demands secrecy, and HuffPo is the opposite of secret.
3) No one has more to lose than the guy whose (pretty much) every word is dissected for days after they’re spoken. You’re only as creative as the last work you convinced a client to buy. Bogusky admits, “For me, as an advertising guy I’m well known, outside of advertising no one knows who I am, but in advertising, I’m well known enough that people know me who I don’t know…”
Here’s a few choice quotes from the piece (in no particular order):
— “Jeremy Abelson: The reason why I think this interview with you is so poignant is because most people when they’re asking questions like this will go to a media expert or someone from the account side of an agency, but the fact of the matter is that right now it really is the creatives who are controlling where people are marketing, and I see this tremendous shift from any form of traditional marketing–everything we pitch is all about engagement.”
— “Alex Bogusky: I think the other thing for me that is really part of this whole story is the transparency that comes with social media. So though a lot of creatives are very excited about moving into that space, a lot of clients are nervous about the level of transparency that occurs.”
— “Alex Bogusky: Well I prefer the PC, but it’s very similar. I have Vista Ultimate, and at a lot of things it’s better, and what surprised me was that it was a little more seamless in terms of going from application to application. Anyway, it’s good, it’s a great machine.”
There’s much more to be read there, but if you’re looking for anything to write home about, look elsewhere. This isn’t to say that Abelson isn’t capable as a writer, just that his aim for the piece, as we read it, didn’t cohere with what Bogusky would allow himself to say. And that’s about all that can be taken away. Well, that and the subservient chicken suit is not housed in Boulder. Wa waa.
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“Alex Bogusky: I think the other thing for me that is really part of this whole story is the transparency that comes with social media. So though a lot of creatives are very excited about moving into that space, a lot of clients are nervous about the level of transparency that occurs.
For me, as an advertising guy I’m well known, outside of advertising no one knows who I am, but in advertising, I’m well known enough that people know me who I don’t know, and people comment on me and they say things that hurt your feelings, and you’re like, “I don’t want to be in social media anymore, take me out, I’m gonna live in a cave.” And it takes a few months or years or whatever for the person to get used to that. But that open conversation is really powerful. We talk about transparency and we encourage our clients to go there.
Consumers, even when they like you, they play really rough. When we were kids we would be going to Taco Bell but we called it Taco Hell on the way there. Just because we were calling it Taco Hell doesn’t mean we hated it; it just meant that we were playing a little rough. That’s the way you play with your friends.
So you’re talking about the media space and smaller companies replacing bigger, more traditional companies in media and advertising, and large companies have a great advantage, but if they can’t learn to be transparent, they’re gonna be swept away by more transparent companies which are smaller now but are going to grow very quickly because the ability to grow in this economy with social media is way beyond anything it’s ever been.”