guerrilla advertising and you: a love story.

Here’s an interesting nugget from New York magazine contributor Bryant Urstadt on the new wave of advertising. It’s subversive creativity.

And Rapcat.

The feature reminds me of this essay I read  that claimed in the future, everything will be niche marketing to the max – if I recall correctly, the essayist (escaping me at the moment) predicted volatility in the “Latvian dyslexic transsexual” market. Urstadt seems to agree that this is the slope that advertisers are heading down.

…this amounts to the disappearance of a readily available mass audience. The Internet audience is far more fragmented, picking content in nearly random ways, and the barriers to creation have dropped as well. You could be a kid with a guitar or a team at a 12,000-person agency, and you have about the same chances of mass success on YouTube.

So to whom does Rapcat appeal?

I think the answer is everyone and no one, simulataneously, although it all depends whom you’re attempting to attract, and to what you’re attempting to attract them to. It seems as if the basis of this “new” marketing is to simply find publicity and attach your name to it – rather than attaching a name to publicity. (That is to say, creating a cultural phenomenon and then using it, rather than having a internal creation attempt to create that phenomenon. So, for example, Rapcat in a Checkers commercial, instead of Checker’s Rapcat, in a commercial.)

It does smack of non-creativity, though. Isn’t this just the same as someone leeching on to a band because one cool person likes it? Any residual benefits that the kid recieves from being associated with the popular person’s taste in the band is all well and good, but it isn’t as if he or she should recieve credit for having good taste. It’s the same with this, right? The initial firm that comes up with these ideas should be lauded for their creativity (just like the cool kid who first discovers the band), but the companies who simply attach their name should not be labeled risk-takers or groundbreakers, because they aren’t. They’re pretty much just posuers, taking credit for someone else’s actual intellectual work.

The threat to the traditional agency model, with a stable of “creatives” trained to provide print, radio, and television ads to a passive audience, is obvious. If you’re a big marketer, why would you hire an enormous staff at great expense when you could…swing by some cool shop in Soho. The little ad shops, in a way, are just glorified and more corporate-friendly versions of those geeks coming up with stuff in their bedrooms, and it turns out it’s a great way to make an ad.

Is this where it’s headed, then? That in fifty years, we’ll be unable to tell the difference between what is mindless entertainment and what is just another link in the chain to get us to notice some product?

These questions could be asked continuously, and don’t really have any answers.

So, I’ll stop before my head explodes.

I do love the Rapcat, though. Meow.


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