The Kids are Alright / Young Folks

For those alright kids oblivious to a reference to The Who, the post-slash title is hopefully a more friendly 21st century reference to Peter, Bjorn & John w/ which you can relate.

Not sure how I missed this (thanks freak for catching me up), but back in April, many people w/ “C” in their title leaned from their ivory towers of the revered advertising and media world, people who control a very large chunk of global ad spend, are playing Dr. Phil to each other, saying “Get over it”. (The fact that within the article there was a reference to Cher slapping Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck – a movie that premiered 21 years ago – perhaps sets up nicely what’s about to be said with regards to Young Folks.) This digitization of media thing ain’t going away and if you want to continue in this here industry you need to figure it out. And that starts w/ the aforementioned Young Folks.

This quote from Lee Clow, Chairman & Chief Creative at TBWA/Chiat/Day (or whatever they’re called these days – need a Young Folks memory abilities to keep the industry straight):

“If you want to participate, you’ve got to start hiring young people, and don’t tell them what to do — ask them what to do.”

Click the link and check his picture – this dude is what Young Folks would call “old”. He probably remembers the “secret” acronym for the shoe company on his t-shirt…

Some lyrics from Young Folks for you to ponder when you think about recruiting Young Folks into this industry – let’s assume the narrator is the ad/media industry:

if i told you things i did before
told you how i used to be
would you go along with someone like me
if you knew my story word for word
had all of my history
would you go along with someone like me

Hmm, let’s see, an industry that’s shifting at a grinding pace towards media spaces where Young Folks spend the preponderance of their time, always have and – more importantly – always will. Yeah, maybe we shouldn’t tell them our story word for word, and we should listen a bit more closely.

They ain’t like we Gen X’ers (apologies to any Boomers reading this but I just made you younger and much more indifferent and cool) who had to adapt to this neat-o digital stuff – they were born into it. ‘Member how we thought it was really cool when we got a VCR in the house? Atari or Activision? Those ultra cool, ultra small, ultra mobile Walkmen – and the technological wonder of the Discman? Mobile phones that had their own special bag and made you look like an Army officer on some sort of mission?

Yeah, very few of these kids have known life without a computer in the house, are somewhat averse to the concept of a physical container for their music that isn’t made by Apple, and have slightly different expectations of what a “mobile phone” is and what it can do for them (hint: primarily not being used for placing calls).

Oh, and know how there’s this whole thing going on about the power of tweens, teens and young adults influence over their parents – i.e. Gen X’ers and Boomers? Guess where they’re needing to spend more of their media time to connect w/ the Young Folks? It’s interesting to take a look at the demographic shift of Facebook and MySpace if you haven’t…

Back to the central thought which is the need for ad/media pros to get over it (dammit, I hate how that keeps coming up) and let the kids take the wheel a bit more. From The Who’s The Kids are Alright:

I know if I go things would be a lot better for her
I had things planned, but her folks wouldn’t let her

I really don’t want to be the folks who wouldn’t let her. Check it – get The Kids are Alright ringtone here. Maybe you Young Folks do get it!

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Filed under future of media, the career

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