In the frenetic world of US advertising, the pace is always accelerating. Even traditional respites from the rat race such as the yoga studio are succumbing to the pressure to do more, faster. In both realms, the tradition and art form are slowly being eroded.
That’s why I’ve taken a renewed interest in Iyengar yoga. The trademark of Iyengar yoga is the intense focus on the subtleties of each posture. It’s about patience, form and understanding that sometimes slow, steady, quality movements and postures produce the best results.
Sadly, there’s a trend across America towards fast-paced yoga classes filled with chaturangas (push-ups), vertical postures and jerky movements. The tradition and art form are being eroded. It’s an apt metaphor for what’s happening in American advertising these days. Last year’s obsessive drive towards "real-time" media, coupled with an almost insatiable appetite among agencies and marketers to one-up themselves, has begun to devalue the time and money it takes to create enduring, intelligent campaigns and ideas.
Agencies will race to be first. But we're setting a precedent. Clients expect everything faster and cheaper
I’m not overly nostalgic or clinging to the past; however, the desire for speed needs to be balanced with an appreciation for craft. I can only imagine the race among agency types following the Consumer Electronics Show to show their clients new ideas that tether brands to wearables, iTV and the Internet of Things. Agencies will race to be first with new apps, new ads and new social platforms that harness all of these possibilities. No-one wants to be left behind. But, in so doing, we’re setting a precedent. Our clients have come to expect everything faster and cheaper.
Social media posts, for example, often help define a brand in the minds of consumers; yet, by and large, they only fetch a few hundred dollars per post. Still, agencies are expected to develop fresh, captivating, dynamic daily content on par with the production quality of a print ad for a fraction of the time and cost.
Another good example is Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding photo – the most Instagrammed photo of all time. Turns out, capturing the top spot on Instagram isn’t as easy as you might think. West revealed that the couple spent four days editing the photo before it was posted on Instagram. "The fact the most-liked photo has a kind of aesthetic was a win for what the mission is, which is raising the palette," West explained.
Two unlikely bedfellows, West and Iyengar, yet they’re promoting a similar philosophy. It’s time to find a balance between moving fast and moving with purpose. To recognise that we can be agile and artful at the same time. Give our craft the time and energy it deserves, brands the quality they demand and consumers the content they truly care about. Not everything has to be as fast as a Twitter stream, and maybe we will all be better for it.
Bradley Kay is the president and partner at SS&K