As Prolific As The Internet
As random as these memes are, it's worth taking note of the mysterious process that encourages producing so much content.
And now seems as good a time as any to celebrate and learn from that process, as this past weekend marked a significant achievement in pop culture history with Saturday's broadcast of Betty White hosting SNL. With over a half million of us on Facebook wishing with all our might that this would happen, it was as much a mirror hosting that show as it was Betty White.
So how do these ideas get made?
Interestingly, they get the attention our business craves without the benefit of a strategy, a media plan or even focus groups. Can you imagine what would have happened if you had asked a focus group how they'd feel about an 88 year-old woman hosting SNL? We can't advocate carelessness, but it's important to recognize that the prolificacy of the Internet pays off. Minimizing risk can minimize output. Let's make more stuff more often, get the ideas out, and give them purpose.
And that's where this becomes interesting for all of us in this business.
Early on, there was a real concern that user-generated content sucked (though agency-generated content doesn't have a perfect record either). But if the efforts of "users" are getting Betty White on the air and helping to get a President elected, then we should forget about making ads as usual. Instead, it's time that we redefine our roles in creating these movements and figure out how to make more stuff, more relevant.
The truth is: nobody has the answers right now. But it's important for us to keep asking the questions. What's our role in all this? Are we curators or creators? Do we have to be one or the other?
That's a lot to figure out.
Until then, here's to our future Betty Whites.
Arturo Aranda is SVP, Senior Creative Director, BBDO New York