The Death Of Digital

Not long after I started in my current role as Chief Digital Officer (it really is a bit of a mouthful) my boss said something along the lines of

Real people never talk about digital

And, in the main, he was right. I’d argue that the only three things real people (or consumers as we insist on calling them) ever think of as being digital are watches, TV & radio (and that’s only in markets, like the UK, where digital TV & radio have been heavily marketed). The rest of the time they probably think of the things that we, in the ad industry, call digital as just stuff. Internet and what-not.

This was brought home to me by two great executions I discovered on the (brilliant) blog by Eaon Pritchard (a very funny Scotsman with impeccable taste in music). You can see them below but essentially they were an experiential activation by Coke and a ‘digital’ billboard from a farming charity.

What I find fascinating about both of them is that they rely on digital technology, or t’internet as real people might describe it, but yet aren’t “digital campaigns” (not a banner ad in sight.)

Rather they were both created in order to be shared over the internet/to be interacted with using a digital device (smartphone). Whilst the poster might have got a lot of passing traffic, I very much doubt that Coke would have gone to all that effort in the days before online video and easy sharing (whether by email or social network).

As Twitter founder Evan Williams said in a recent speech, the internet isn’t some sort of utopian fantasy, it’s:

a giant machine designed to give people what they want…(and is) connecting everyone and everything, every event and every thought, in multiple ways

He’s right in so many ways and it’s why the best digital work being done right now isn’t really digital at all.

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