The good folks at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication were kind enough to invite me to speak there this week as part of their Global Leaders in Digital and Social Media Speaker Series.
The experience was awesome. I had the chance to visit and present in two classes – Dr. Bill Ward’s Social Media You Need to Know, and Professor Brian Sheehan’s Integrated Advertising Campaigns –and then deliver a keynote in the school’s wonderful Herg Auditorium.
S.I.Newhouse impressed on all fronts. The facility is spectacular, especially Newhouse 3, with its curved facade and the full text of the First Amendment (written in its entirety) incorporated into the exterior glass walls.
The building houses media rooms, production facilities and editing labs that feel almost as cool as an Apple store. There are well-lit open spaces that act as metaphors for transparency and freedom of information. But best of all, I found eager engaged students.
In my keynote, titled The End of Us and Them, I talked a bit about the somewhat conflicting trends in our business today. On one hand, TV spending in the US next year will grow 5.1 percent to well over 70 billion. On the other hand the critics tell us that, “In the future marketing will be like sex. Only the losers will pay for it.”
We have agency models that are still beholden to the golden era of media defined best by Walter Cronkite, Bill Bernbach and Ed Sullivan. Yet the new media forces are people like Zuckerberg and Chen, who’ve liberated us all and therefore relegated the old model – in which agencies and media companies were owners of content and controllers of distribution – to the diminished position it has today.
I shared an exchange I witnessed between Ted Koppel (SI Newhouse alum) and Arianna Huffington to remind students that it didn’t matter who was right –Ted wants to give people news that’s good for them; Arianna wants them to have the news they want – the reader, and consequently Arianna, have already won. (You can see the entire video of that conversation if you want.)
But I also suggested that all would be well. Advertising and its practitioners will prevail and prosper presuming we learn to create not only with words, pictures and stories, but also with technology, APIs and community.
There are a few other suggestions and examples as well. Much of it familiar to regular readers here. But if you want to take it, use it, repurpose it for yourself, here it is.
Thanks to the folks at S.I. Newhouse and especially to @DR4Ward for the warm hospitality and dinner at America’s best rib joint. I suggest the pork ribs and pulled pork combination.