Practicing Self-Control in the Candy Store

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It's a pleasure and a great honor to write my first post as part of this CAT/Creativity blog. Some of you might know me, but I guess most of you do not. My name is Mathias and four weeks ago, I moved from Sweden's Forsman & Bodenfors to join BBDO, N.Y. as Executive Creative Director and Director of Innovation. For someone who has lived most of his life a stone's throw away from the North Pole, I feel like I've been watching the world from afar. In spite of all the amazing stuff that is happening in Asia and India, the U.S. is still the epicenter of the advertising industry, and I'm really excited to be a part of it.

Anyway, as a result of this big move, I've had the pleasure to meet a number of people outside the industry (immigration attorneys, relocation agents, get the picture). When I tell them what I will be doing, I get answers like, "I guess that Internet thing is going to be pretty big." I don't tell them that online media buys will exceed print advertising in the U.S. this year, or that online spending in many markets is actually bigger than TV advertising. I also don't tell them about how the mobile industry is growing like it's on steroids, either. I know that my everyday life differs quite a lot from theirs.

The other day, I was listening to a very interesting talk by Chad Stoller, Director of Digital Strategy for BBDO North America. He discussed a bunch of really cool innovations that were about to be launched. Many of them will probably change how we watch TV and how social media works. I felt like a kid in a candy store. You know, you want everything so much, you don't know where to start. Then I thought about the new people I had met (see above) and those I see on the train to work everyday. Yes, you see a bunch of iPhones, but most people are still using their really old phones and they are probably oblivious to the AppStore and its equivalent. And most people still watch TV (in fact, I heard somewhere that 75% of the American population still watches six hours a day!). . .on an actual TV and not on Hulu. Yes, the stream of new innovations that can be used for marketing is vast, but it's mostly people like me and you, dear reader, that even know about them.

Back to the candy store.

We (marketers, digi-rati, agencies) are presented with opportunities to use new technologies everyday. That is a blessing. We really should try out new stuff so we can learn new ways to talk to (and with) our clients' customers. But for me, and I think, maybe, the industry as a whole, the challenge is to keep reminding ourselves of the need to do progressive work that can be accessed, understood and appreciated by the masses—the people you pass on the street on your way to the office everyday. By all means, keep on doing all those wonderful things that are the frosting on the cake, but don't forget to bake the actual cake. Because sooner or later, our clients are going to be asking for said cake. If they don't find it, we won't be allowed to make any more frostings. And frosting is indeed delicious.