In 1997, the Spice Girls invaded America. My brother came down with a disastrous case of frosted tips. And Radiohead’s “Creep” played on MTV’s “Dawn Patrol” while I ate my Honey Nut Cheerios.
Life was all about rocking board shorts, Drew Barrymore barrettes and scouring Seventeen for full-page spreads of Jared Leto (aka Jordan Catalano). When we weren’t fighting over the bathroom mirror, kids like us were accessing the World Wide Web via Netscape and crunchy dial-up internet tones.
But in this pre-TRL, pre-Britney boom time, one cultural touchstone broke through all the noise. And that iceberg, ladies and gentleman, was “Titanic” — the James Cameron mega blockbuster that redefined film for the dawning 21st century.
My name is Betty. I’m 94. I was born in 1923, lived through the Great Depression as a young girl, and waited with bated breath as my husband fought in World War II. This had a profound effect on my life, and his.
We had a good life, though. Money was tight, but we were blessed in so many ways.
I gave birth to a beautiful son who then grew to have kids of his own. Some of my grandchildren have already had kids of their own, too. My grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) are everything to me. Every time I see their faces, I see the hope of an entire generation. I see my mom and my dad. I hear my siblings in their laughter. Their hugs warm my heart and remind me of the vigor that I used to have.
I’m telling you all of this so you get to know me. Because I’m not the typical customer advertisers talk to these days. I’m not a millennial or even a baby boomer. I don’t use the internet frequently. I still watch cable.
But I matter.
Growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I got older. I would go from marine biologist to race-car driver to nighttime security guard in the span of an hour. At any given moment in high school, I might have told you I either wanted to study sociology at UC Berkeley or drop out to find a berth on a cod-fishing vessel.
The only things I could never see myself doing were marketing and sales (might also throw air traffic control and law enforcement in there for posterity). I was passionate about social and environmental causes as a child, and my parents made sure that I hated Wal-Mart before I could even pronounce the name of that unholiest of places.
“Let’s add a QR code” may sound like a bad marketing punchline or the nightmare of an ad exec in the early 2010s, but it’s a phrase coming soon to an office near you. While it feels like we just got rid of them, QR codes are returning, stronger and more determined than a hoard of Demogorgons.
When Black Friday rolls around, the same thought always crosses my mind: do we really hate our families this much? On the day after Thanksgiving we could be sitting in our pajamas, having a wholesome breakfast of leftover pumpkin pie and lukewarm mini-quiches. But no. Millions of Americans will brave parking lot traffic jams and stand in long lines with turkied-up grumpies, ready to elbow anyone who stands in the way of their deeply discounted, 60-inch flat screen.
Lots of people love Black Friday, but surely, there’s got to be a better way to stock up for the holidays. Maybe I just don’t love America enough, but nothing about this spectacle appeals to me. For starters, I hate mornings and I love pajamas. And I have no interest in being tased by a security guard or receiving a shiner from the overzealous shopper coming up fast on my left flank.
The PR industry is in a state of crisis. Most in the industry don’t realize it yet, but they feel it – at least subconsciously.
Time and attention are harder to earn than ever. The average client PR engagement ends far more quickly than it did even five years ago. Journalists don’t need to rely on PR professionals for access or information in the same manner as they did in the past.