- 2012, the year of the artist
There are perhaps just two professions forming the final barrier between us, the people, and a sort of data-enabled nazi fascist Brooker 1984 Guantanamo privatised prison industrial silicon don't give a toss body violent RFID facially recognised society that people will sleepwalk happily into because we've been led to believe everyone else is a terrorist looting scrounger cunt and deserves nothing less.
- The first, journalism, is under threat. No-one wants to pay for a newspaper any more because we are used to getting so much for free, and we don't want also to worry about what John Pilger is investigating when there's so much to be scared of in our own lives, what with the constant threat of underpant bombers overshadowing the creeping, life-as-normal threat of sociopathic corporations turning us into meat cashpoints for the needy 1% (we are surely more likely to die at the hands of some back-handed deal between a politician and his mate from school where health and safety is handed to a company legally bound only to make profits for shareholders than at the hand of a terrorist).
- But look at social media and what do you see? It depends on your friends, I suppose, but I see images of the American policeman who casually maced seated, bound, Uncut protesters replacing the Statue of Liberty. I see that David Cameron poster rewritten a thousandfold.
- Art (the second of those two professions) is not under anyone's control. It's us, our true voice, and it defines its own time and space to make its point. Any interpretation or understanding of art exercises our ability to empathise and see under the skin and beyond the reflex. Orwell's 1984. Picasso's Guernica.
- I'm a marketer. Marketing 'spots a problem and organises itself to solve it'. Marketing provides the senses of an organisation. Great marketing also provides the conscience. Helping an old lady across the street is marketing. It's a huge force for good.
- Marketing also ruins everything by turning it into a money making system. By and large people (by which I mean the minority who are healthy, up-to-speed and capable) quickly spot what's happening and learn defences. Sadly that makes our best a very cynical bunch indeed.
- Often, the only defence is disengagement. It turns out consciousness isn't all it's cracked up to be. Our decisions (including buying decisions) are led by our subconscious which isn't woolly and simple but can work out maths, rhythms and systems. Our decisions are made in our subconscious, our conscious only makes up the reasons retrospectively. Marketers are more and more able to drive our subconscious. It's an unfair fight, us single people against professional 24/7 marketing teams. In our hearts we know this so we don't take even the first step. We disengage, we don't vote, don't get involved, we distrust and disconnect. If we are lucky enough to have the opportunity, we choose to deal with smaller businesses where the balance of power is more equal.
- One common Internet marketing system is 'content creation' whereby companies litter the web with uninspiring drivel in order to chase search phrases their potential customers enter into Google.
- A recently popular improvement on that is the infographic, where a graphic designer makes selected data both attractive and easier to understand. It's better partly because there's a creative element that makes it more desirable, more link-to-able. Of course, there's plenty more besides once you get creative.
- So this year I want to realise a long held desire of mine to mix business, marketing and art and not in a shallow 'content' way, but in a collaborative, mutual learning way, so the brand and the art inform each other.
- If ever our choice is limited we tend in our rush not to reinvent, we just accept the choices we are given. But also in leaderless and turbulent times like these, new ways are born. Business can lead, but marketing comes first, listening, hearing what's needed, making the case and showing the way.
- The new ways? Peer to peer. Open source. Microfinance. Social. Real usability. Street democracy. But even those are hard sells. They take engagement, the very thing that's been destroyed. The change comes one person at a time through being genuine and having a soul.
- It's time to re-invent, reboot, rethink, renew. It's not easy. That's what makes it a powerful differentiator. Not everyone will do it. It's what I'm here for.
By John Allsopp
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