Closing of JWT Chicago unearths countless trolls aka “pundit/confessors.”

April 8, 2009

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“Wanna know what I think?”

The fallout from the JWT story continues. For one thing the blogosphere won’t leave it alone, including yours truly. The need to explain what happened (in some cases pointing fingers) and speculate about the future (with that agency, this city) is far from over.

The eulogies for JWT were just the beginning.

Other agencies (here and elsewhere) hang on for dear life. In many ways, the notion of advertising is dying. Was JWT a last gasp for an old model? If so, what’s the new model? Where do we go from here? Ahhhh!

We need closure.

Regarding the “we” it’s fascinating and a little scary how fast & furious people are with their comments. A troll named Yusef hit my blog with a scud-missive: “JWT deserves better than this AWFUL post.” But that’s nothing compared to the debate on other blogs. Scroll through the 50+ comments on Adscam. Or go to the source material itself: Mullman’s piece on AdAge.

Among this commentary, you’ll find the vigorous, virtuous and vitriolic.

But is it more than closure that drives them (us)?

Has talking about dysfunction become a national pastime, part and parcel to the emergence of social networks and online forums? When people can turn invisible they are a lot more courageous and/or cowardly, depending. Either way, the operative word is more.

Essayist Steve Almond has a great article in the April issue of GQ. While discussing a website (SideTaker.com) that settles marital disputes via online forums (!) he writes that “it appeals to two peculiarly American impulses: the desire to publicize our own dysfunction, and the desire to sit in judgment of others publicized dysfunction. We have become a nation of pundit/confessors, mocking the morons who populate reality TV shows even as we dream of being them.”

A Nation of pundit/confessors? In Ad Land we’re all talking about JWT.

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5 Responses to “Closing of JWT Chicago unearths countless trolls aka “pundit/confessors.””

  1. joey from marketing said

    I liken the proliferation of message boards and blogs to the same phenomenon as the explosion of reality-tv shows popularity…we just love to watch and discuss other peoples misery. In both good times and bad.

  2. Andy Webb said

    I guess we’re all struggling with “the notion of advertising is dying.”

    Here’s the Internet that has been slowly pulling the rug on traditional methods. Then along comes a recession that caused clients to pull back on marketing spending and the ad industry to contract — in a matter of months.

    While it’s hard to avoid thoughts of being the next to feel the axe on your neck, companies will ALWAYS need to communicate to audiences the goods and services they sell. That will always create a need for communicators, won’t it?

    We may not be creating as many TV commercials and display ads, but using words and pictures in other ways.

  3. SRP said

    Andy-
    Impossible to answer your question in one logon, which I suppose is why so many people try!
    More to come…

  4. Nice post, Steffan. The end of anything is really nothing but the beginning of something. Curious to see what that will be.

  5. SRP said

    James-
    You’re right. Come Sunday night I’m posting about the future of Chicago Advertising…
    Out of respect, I’m waiting for a big story on AdAge.

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