Advertising people are aware the turmoil their business is in. Some are wishing for one more shot at the 3-spot campaign with crackling and wry headlines, a tag that joins the zeitgeist and the hang-it-on-the-wall graphic. Others are busting chops to understand what COMMUNICATES, and delivering content – STORIES – that people care about.

Of these, most would declare that “advertising” is past-tense. “Mad Men” belongs on the History Channel. David Ogilvy, Ted Bates and the rest of the dinosaurs belong in a museum… That withing leading edge / early adopters / sophisticates / sneezers, the brand-manipulation radar is on high alert.

And when the smartest – – or among the smartest and most talented – – describe the new landscape, do they turn to TV or film for a quote that will help make sense of it all?

Yogi Berra?

No, they turn to literature; Jeffrey Eugenides, in fact “What’s the first thing a kid says when he learns how to talk? ‘Tell me a story.’ That’s how we understand who we are, where we come from.”

OK, so…?

Story posits the following: “With experts from Eugenides to old-fashioned management guru Tom Peters now saying stories are everything, what’s a beleaguered CMO to do with that information?”

Look back? 3-headlines and out? Or forward?

Read on.

~ Christopher Smith