WD World

The Future of Advertising

Funny thing about time travel — it can happen when you least expect it.  My most recent foray into fast forward came this week while speaking to a college ad club. It was a trip I won’t soon forget.

Visiting with students is something I try to do whenever the opportunity arises. Our business is so fickle, so subjective, that I like to try and arm young, worthy ad wannabes with all the tools I can to help them gain entry into the biz. It’s the least I can do, as years ago a kindly professor tried to do the same for me.

So, up I went to give the group a dose of hard creative reality tempered with helpful tips to smooth their transition from school to workplace. Imagine my surprise when, instead of a meek or unenthusiastic audience, I was jumped by excited, focused ad kids:

“Mr. Hanthorn, what do you think of this? It’s a rough wireframe of an app I’m designing!”  Or, “Would you read this, and see if my long copy is any good?”  Or, “This is a campaign idea I have for detergent. What do you think?”

I was as amazed as I was delighted. Here was a group that didn’t seem worried at all about their future. Instead, they were both embracing it and arming themselves for it — working on assignments based on both new technology and traditional media.  They were animated, engaged and eager to share with me, the old, grizzled veteran, their view of what advertising could be — or should be.

Now, not everything I saw was a homerun. There were the typical beginner mistakes like tiny logos or too-long sentences and the like. But overall the work was fun and smart and ambitious.

After a rousing session that saw me acting more as a working Creative Director than a wise career mentor, it was time to go.  As I left, I realized I’d just been fortunate enough to visit the future of our business. I’m glad to report it’s a pretty exciting place … and I can’t wait to visit again soon.


(Photo courtesy of The Creative Circus)


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