Help us through the minefield

Thought for today, from the New York Times business section:

Y&R, a very traditional ad agency that recently has lost major clients and also staff, has appointed a new chief executive. He’s interviewed in the Times, and here’s the first question he was asked, along with the start of his answer.

Q. How can an agency like Y&R, known for its traditional approach to advertising, thrive when the marketing landscape is changing so much?

A. There is an awful lot of confusion out there. No one knows what will really happen. It’s all up for grabs now. Clients are crying out, “Help get us through the minefield.

The rest of the answer is relevant only to Y&R’s advertising work. But the question could just as well have been asked changes in the cultural landscape, which are the reason why the marketing landscape is changing. Media culture, for instance, is getting far more participatory. So corporations (as one response to that) are asking customers to design their own ads. Two major corporations, along with the NFL, have even asked customers to make commercials to be shown on the Superbowl telecast, which of course is where many of the most important new commercials are unveiled.

So: “Help us through the minefield.” The culture is changing. And we in the classical music world need just as much help as everybody else. (Or maybe even more.)

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