The Age of Sisomo

For the first time since the dot-com boom, this year’s Ad:Tech attracted a couple of bigwigs from the world of traditional agencies. Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts, sporting a Madonna-like headset contraption, gave a keynote address on Tuesday that introduced his new Grand Unifying Theory: sisomo. In addition to lovemarks, the world is now ruled by Sight, Sound and Motion. It’s a fun word, particularly with Roberts’s many mutations: sisomoments, sisomovies, sisomojo, etc. The long and the short of sisomo isn’t exactly earth shattering: TV is mutating into video on lots of different devices and advertisers need to find ways to engage consumers. Conveniently for Saatchi, despite this fragmentation, Roberts believes consumers still make decisions based on emotion rather than reason, a world "for everyone who was ever thrilled by a car chase or wept over a motherless deer." Forget Google, targeting and optimization: storytelling still rules. He even gave attendees a photo-heavy, soft-cover book about this emerging world of many screens (eBay price: $9.48). Curiously, in illustrating this new world, Roberts made it look a lot like the old one: He trotted out over a dozen TV commercials, like a funny spot for a soft drink and a precious one for diapers. The only interactive bit introduced was a Lexus campaign that let people beam their photos up on the Reuters sign in Times Square. In fact, Roberts said most creative on the Web (and mobile) is "appalling."