The following video of a politically inspired song intended to get latinos/hispanics into the voting booth is a perfect example of modern communications. The video highlights the democratization of mass marketing tools and why professionally produced content will eventually be in greater demand.
In the late ’90’s, digital technologies began to level the playing field. No longer were large budgets required to create compelling content that could stimulate action- either a vote or a consumer purchase. This accelerated when broadband network capabilities were established. We had the digital tools and the distribution… time to play!
All one needs now is an idea, a group of friends, a digital camera, a video editing system and YouTube. Oh, and the other thing is an astute eye for story telling in a motion environment… or not.
The result of this massive shift has been to accustom viewers to hand held footage… shaky, off center, low production value, shifting contrast, single angle, etc. This isn’t a bad thing, but it has lowered our expectations of how communications must be presented. This is the reason for the rise of commercials using unprofessional “effects.” It speaks to an authentic experience. We feel comfortable with amateur. Professional is often suspect as cynicism spreads to every aspect of our lives.
All of this is tied to the success of the “wo/man on the street” phenomena. Look to music, fashion, cinema, politics and marketing for confirmation of this statement. We could write this movement off as the “dumbing down” of American culture and lament the loss of high-brow or intellectual aspirations in our society. However, I put forth a ray of hope to those craft-oriented, commercial directors.
The grittiness and amateur quality of communications will eventually result in a greater demand for professionally produced content. As with every medium, fatigue will set in after experimentation with “how low can you go” fades. Most everything will “live” on one end of the spectrum (amateur) and suddenly a beautiful messaging campaign with lush film-like imagery will appear on the other end of the spectrum. A spark of new found excitement will inject the next aesthetic into messaging. Professionally produced content, with digital tools, will be “reintroduced” as a valued execution.
Of course, lessons will have been learned and the integration loop will continue through its next cycle. We get “change” whether its a campaign slogan or not.
Get out the vote! Then, once the elections are done, get back to- Get out your IDEAS! This is why we must celebrate the rise of low-brow culture. It allows for expression without intellectual censoring. It allows for fast manufacturing of ideas in the same vein as Andy Warhol’s work.
Lastly, I commend both Nicole Betancourt and Jose Conde for the creation of this upbeat salsa political video. Nicole’s talent was first noticed with her self-made documentary on the death of her father who had AIDS. HBO took notice and her career in that medium began.
Right arm, Nicole! Go people-powered messaging!!!!