Quite the delight last week was getting an email from Rob Gerlsbeck, Associate Editor of Marketing Magazine. Every January, the mag kicks off the new year with a “Pop Culture Forecast,” which projects trends in food, music, video games, fashion and gives some insights into consumer behavior.
And this year, someone must’ve done sumptin’
wrong, as I’ve been asked to join a prestigious panel of five (well, formerly-prestigious
now) and give my take on the subject.
One answer that didn’t make the cut was to the question of what I foresee as THE Huge Trend for 2007. Normally, this edit would’ve been forgotten and relegated to the ether, but after reading an eye-opening Time Magazine article called “How To Bring U.S. Schools Out of the 20th Century” this past weekend, and seeing how my opinion synched with that of authors Claudia Wallis and Sonja Steptoe (who said that "In an age of overflowing and proliferating media, kids need to rapidly process what's coming at them and distinguish between what's reliable and what isn't,") I figured it fits well within Pow! as yet another one of my “Theories.”
So, the answer my friend,to the Trend question:
"The big trend I wish and pray for in ‘07 is one that will facilitate and manage the big trends of the past few years.
"In other words, I’m waiting for the trusted sage, the guru, the 'editor,' so to speak, who will help make sense of the all assault-our-senses clutter, be it the Web, TV’s 2,000-channel PVR universe, the retail environment—any place that is overrun with today’s perverse overabundance of choices.
"I am one of the most 'up on things' people I know, yet still feel that I’m missing way more than I catch, and worse yet, that the stuff caught isn’t the best out there.
"Like a great D.J. or a personal stylist, I want to depend upon empowered, uber-in touch people--not software--who will be able to recommend not only what I want to know about, but what they feel that I need to know about."
Not only was it a nice Surprise, but a very astute choice by Time when they named “Us” as People of The Year (that’s three magazine titles in less than a sentence, but I digress…) for 2006. For better or worse, we have democratized the media and the flow of information. I know I’m adding to the pile with this blog, but jeez, there’s so much out there, never mind who do you believe, but where do you start, and when does it end?
Perhaps the next big idea we'll pursue here at Airborne is a way to make sense of the info explosion, and find a way to parse it into single serving, hyper-relevant, knowledge nuggets. Like the iPod made the song more important than the album (and even the artist), maybe the future lies not in recommending blogs, websites, stores or TV shows, but individual posts, pages, sale items or show scenes.
By the way, the Pop Culture Forecast appears in Marketing Mag on January 8th.
See you there, see you then.