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Craft in a digital world

October 11, 2009

Ad Industry,Brainfood,Insight,Opinions

Digital has all the evangelists it needs, often seen walking down sidewalks staring at Iphones – i think they call it connecting. We could use the occasional skeptic.

So I was happy to come across Christopher Kimball’s piece in Thursday’s NY Times. Mr. Kimball is the publisher of Cooks Illustrated. The article reflects on Gourmet’s demise, but goes on to offer a smart and contrarian reaction to the dominant theology of our day: digital democratization.

The whole article is here. Think it over the next time you price your services or read about a national brand soliciting ideas through crowd sourcing.

Here’s a quote:

To survive (digital democratization), those of us who believe that inexperience rarely leads to wisdom need to swim against the tide, better define our brands, prove our worth, ask to be paid for what we do, and refuse to climb aboard this ship of fools, the one where everyone has an equal voice. Google “broccoli casserole” and make the first recipe you find. I guarantee it will be disappointing. The world needs fewer opinions and more thoughtful expertise — the kind that comes from real experience, the hard-won blood-on-the-floor kind. I like my reporters, my pilots, my pundits, my doctors, my teachers and my cooking instructors to have graduated from the school of hard knocks.

Advertising, the business of commercial communication in all its forms, is a craft. Experience matters. I wonder if the ad business itself believes this.