I have made you do it. Controlled you to buy it, forced you to go, and convinced you to think it was wonderful or that it wasn’t. I created hype, hyperbole and hysteria. I built greatness when the truth was mediocrity. If the truth was greatness, I turned it into superhuman. My ideas have caused you to purchase sneakers you thought made you more fit, soft drinks that gave you instant energy, technology you didn’t know you couldn’t live without and much more. I did and do these things brilliantly, piously hiding behind the veil of advertising and marketing.
However, it hit me somewhere along the way; our industry’s actions have contributed to a seismic societal shift, a pandemic deficiency of reasonable reasoning. An advertising inverted shift alongside the space/time continuum where people now have clearer relationships with “brands” and their supposed meanings than real life activities.
A week ago, millions of people world-wide tuned into ESPN to view “The Decision” by NBA player LeBron James to hear him announce where he would be playing the game of basketball for the coming years. When the decision was made for him to go to the Miami Heat, fans of that team and city rejoiced to a degree near frenzy. I saw a father holding his twin boys proclaim, “This was the happiest day of his life!” Sad thing is I believe him. Others were jumping on each other, kissing strangers, lighting fireworks and fits of random dancing.
Conversely, the fans of other cities in the running, especially the Cleveland Cavaliers where James would be departing, reacted with hysteria. People began to cry, scream, and publicly burn pictures and jerseys bearing James’ likeness. The Cleveland NBC News interviewed a family where the mother explained, “My kids will be devastated; who will they look up to now?” The father quickly added, “Our heroes are letting us down.”
Have we lost all sense of irony? Are we wading in the shallow end of a spiritual poverty pool? How is it possible that a recent poll shows Spencer Pratt, Heidi Montag and the Kardashian’s with a more favorable Q-Rating than Stephen Hawking? (Pause for effect.) Hello People?!?!
My job has actually become harder to convince people to focus on reality than Reality TV. We must break this cycle!
As I've said, I helped cause a lot of this. I too represented many void of substance, heavy on narcissism. I made you believe.
I spent sometime this week with a friend of mine who is a pediatric opthamologist. He was explaining to me the numerous procedures he and his partners perform on children. Each one of these procedures creates positive life altering effects for the child and the child's family. One disease in particular effects preemies: (ROP) Retinopathy of Prematurity. Very few doctors perform this type of surgery, and without the procedure, the child will be blind. He does, they don't.
I sit on the Board of Directors for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. Two amazing men and a dedicated staff lead the organization here. They help change lives daily. That's not hyperbole, I've seen it firsthand.
My neighbor down the block is a "First Responder." A job that has him vow to risk his life for the well being of yours.
The two guys running the charity, the doctor and the neighbor down the street may never become household names. You will never wear their jersey's or have reason to burn them in effigy. However, they will also never be famous for arbitrage and that means something to me.
When I point my children in the direction of a hero, those aforementioned and others that walk among us in our daily lives are where I will look. Who will you point to?
All my best,
The Big STIR
Miami | New York | London
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o: (305) 407-1723