As a university student in the late 80’s, I was obsessed with Canadian communication theorist Marshall McLuhan and his “The medium is the message" work. For anyone that is not as old as me, McLuhan proposed that “The medium through which a message is delivered is more important than the message itself.” I loved TV and how perfectly ads were delivered in this format and 30 years later I can still sing my favourite jingles.
But we haven’t evolved digital ad delivery over the last 15 years and are still jamming a tv format into digital mediums. Innovation needs to go beyond the delivery of a 6 second video. With unlimited inventory across millions of digital sites and the average consumer being bombarded and served 10,000 ad impressions every day, McLuhan’s theory would be asking us to completely challenge how we deliver an ad through digital mediums.
Being the nerd that I am, I was also completely obsessed with behavioural psychology, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and what drives human behaviour.
So this got me thinking…..what would collaboration look like between Maslow and McLuhan? Could we deliver a brand ad through a medium that gives people an experience that meets human needs across all layers of Maslow's hierarchy? And is there a ‘holy grail’ advertising medium that elevates people, guarantees attention and gives people a greater sense of purpose and self actualisation? We know there is.
We are at an exciting time in the evolution of digital marketing. To honour these two gentlemen, surely our role as marketers, data scientists and engineers is to rethink the delivery of a brand message in a way that values humanity. We don’t think the end game is a Facebook ad.