Saturday, July 22, 2006

Predictions will be wrong - AdAge 1980 proves it.

I recently found an old special edition of Advertising Age from 1980, about "the next 20 years." Knowing how much the world of advertising has indeed changed, I started reading it. Of course, it was so completely off target, that it was funny. The past is an awful predictor of the future, but we keep projecting in a straight line and trying it. It assumed the same limited media world, relying on more accurate audience measurement to target consumers. It did not conceive of the Internet, even though it had started by then. Interestingly, none of the writers seemed to be aware of any of the potentially disruptive technology which was even then on the horizon. I would speculate that this is still true today, and much of what really will change the world is not being considered today.

The fact is that ARPA started on the early Internet under Eisenhower. CompuServe was started in 1969, with email starting in 1978, chat in 1980 and file exhange in 1981. Yet no one foresaw in 1980 that this could be an advertising medium.

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