Fourth lesson from PUSH 2007
Traditional media are being replaced by…something
Want to know what life is like here in Traditional Media-Land (that would include newspapers, magazines, television news, radio)? Here’s an executive summary, courtesy of Amy Mitchell of the Project for Excellence in Journalism:
–The news industry entering a phase based on diminished capacity. News organizations reducing ambitions, branding and organizing around specialties.
–The old economic model is crumbling. The circle of advertisers, audiences, outlets, is being broken up. And advertisers more dissatisfied with traditional dynamic and results.
–Web journalism is doing more to develop immediacy, brand, and customization. But there’s no clear model of what works, economically or otherwise. All the talk is about user-generated content, but there’s no focus on how money will be made.
–Solid non-traditional competition is emerging, operating at much lower cost than traditional media.
Sounds fun, huh?
That non-traditional competition would include folks like Anne Elizabeth Moore, who actually is fun. She started “AnneZine,” “a political treatise aimed at people named Anne, so we could unite and show everybody how great we were.” She also once wrote to President Clinton, asking him to change the name of our country to Annerica, “cuz it would be cool for me and not many people would notice, anyway.”
Moore’s new book, due out in November, is called, “Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity.” Her thesis: Corporate America has hijacked punk marketing and social activism, and, more broadly, the cultural underground in which she dwells. Like in 2005, when posters for Nike, slapped up widely on urban street corners, used the imagery and ethos from punk-rock band Minor Threat (Nike apologized); or when Tylenol tried to associate itself with the extreme sports movement.
It’s a dangerous strategy, of course. Mainstream marketers that try to send messages that look authentically countercultural, using the distribution apparatus of the underground itself, risk coming off as awkward, out of it, or just plain evil. “Corporations,” Moore said, “are borrowing modes of communication created in the underground and using them for marketing”—and then taking legal action when the underground tries to get in the way. Ironically, “it’s become ok for the corporate world to be doing street art, but not the people who invented it.”