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Predictions for 2011: Digital Downtime

We’re kicking off 2011 with a few predictions from folks at the agency. From technology, to relationships, to Austin and our own crazy industry – we hope you’ll check out what our people are prepping for in the upcoming year.

Prediction #1: The Ad Community puts down their smart phones just as Mainstream America picks them up.

I recently helped host a New Year’s Eve party with a good friend who happens to work at another ad agency in town. That means a house full of ad people mingling with friends from all of the other, more (or less?) normal parts of our lives. Amidst the dancing and debauchery we also have a wall where people can write their hopes, dreams, and resolutions for the next year. This year’s resolution wall held all of the usual suspects-lose weight, run a 10K, save money, travel more, have more/better/less sex. And, of course, a few things everyone in advertising resolves to do every year-find a work life balance, take all of our vacation days, read more. But there was a new theme on the wall this year, presumably spear-headed by the ad people in attendance. This theme was “simplicity”. Posts included things like “NO Facebook!”, “Less talk, more silence” and “Be More Present.” This isn’t new or earth-shattering. JWT lists “Digital Downtime” as #25 in their 100 trends for 2011, it’s #9 on this list from the Barbarian Group’s Aaron Perrino and the WSJ published an article on the topic yesterday. But here’s the question-will we all put down our smart phones, iPads, Angry Birds games and Twitter obsessions just as “mainstream America” picks them up? Did the people who will buy the good and services we sell all resolve to “learn more about social media” or “get better at technology”?

I’m certainly not arguing that only people in advertising are into technology or social media-obviously we care about these things largely because the people we advertise to care about them. But I do think we’re a couple of months (a year?) ahead of the curve. What insights will we miss because we’re taking our digital downtime while our audience is in their digital prime?

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