Everything has changed. Nothing has changed.
Last year, I was asked to teach an advertising course at a local university. I was excited for the chance to share what I know about the business and was also anxious to hearing students’ fresh perspectives. In particular, I was curious about the impact of technology on their view of advertising, because so much has changed in the past few years. Since Google, phone apps and social media are their links to the new world of advertising, is their immersion in technology changing advertising in a fundamental way? From my observations in the classroom, the answer is an undeniable NO! To quote Pete Townshend of the The Who, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” In this context, the line’s meaning is not as dark as Townshend meant it in the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” but it does point to an undeniable truth: What motivated us before technology continues to motivate us today – and will motivate us tomorrow.
Yes, the Internet, Google and advancing technology have changed things, students say, but so what? After all, aren’t these things simply a delivery system for information and ideas? What’s important to today’s students is the same as what was important to pre-technology generations before them. A meaningful story. Brands they can believe in. Transparency and truth. The classic human stories they tell through their advertising concept and writing assignments speak volumes about what motivates them and what they believe motivates their peers. Advertising will continue to thrive in the digital age as long as it doesn’t get devoured by technology and keeps its focus on what made it great in the first place – great storytelling. So, as I proof this piece on my iPhone and post it to social media, I’m happy to say that what I learned is…nothing has changed.
John Hynes, Creative Director, Korn Hynes
Adjunct Professor of Advertising, Seton Hall University