It’s fascinating to see how the media and public trash Silda Spitzer for her appearance during the apology press conference last Monday. People describe her behavior as nauseating, phony, awful. Years ago when Hillary Clinton stood by Bill or Dina Matos McGreevey flanked her husband through his coming-out affair, the public almost admired the courage and love of these women. Today, the same women would face the wrath of the majority.
Sure, one reason is the lack of authenticity. Is there a wife in this world holding hands with her husband a few days after she found out about $4,000 hookers? We’ve seen it too many times (Hillary, Matos McGreevy and Suzanne Craig come to mind) and we just don’t believe our eyes anymore. Just like the defendant claiming not guilty after being caught on tape. Or the kid being caught in the cookie jar. Over years of life and media experience, people have formed very sensitive antennas for bull***t.
Having said that, we encounter bull***t all day long but don’t get that enraged. Why are that many people angry?
Silda Spitzer played the part she was supposed to play in the past: Women were supposed to stand by their men. Women were supposed to look adoringly at their husbands when they deliver the stump speech for the gazillionth time. Times have changed.
All of us encounter new and changing expectations each and every day.As a father, it’s not enough to just pat your kid on the back and go to work. Now, you need to change diapers and overcome endless sleepless to be called a father. Same is true for agencies: Three Martini lunches and an overnight creative effort won’t win you any pitch anymore. There’s a lot of chatter about the changing agency landscape.
Big Agencies used to be celebrity-filled creative hot shops with no strategic insights and, besides awards, no reason to exist, besides looking beautiful. While many creative agencies have adjusted to the times and revealed innovative creative work, most media agencies have not learned their lesson. They are still smiling at their beloved creative shop and client.
Yes, I know. Changing from stepchild at the table to household leader is hard. But media agencies have no choice: People are not where they used to be and media is not as easy as it used to be. Reaching the audience has become a monumental task. Engaging the audience feels like a Sisyphean task. Dont’ even bother asking about connecting.
Agencies have to adjust to them times. Reach loses its importance. Real, authentic connections become essential. This might happen through product development participation, advanced design or conversational marketing. But it has to happen. And will.
Otherwise, you’ll end up in a pitiful spot. Just like Silda Spitzer.