Tools of the transition
Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of articles that reflect upon the 25th anniversary of Boomm B2B Marketing and the significant changes in our industry over that time.
Gary Mattes is the CEO of Boomm and the proud son of an advertising creative director. There is a compelling fact that Gary likes to share about his father’s professional world because it gives everyone a unique perspective on today’s technology-driven industry.
“My father used the same tools of the trade from the day he started in advertising until the day he retired,” Gary confides. “We have changed our tools countless times in the last year alone.”
He’s right, and the following list underscores the point. Helpful hint: If some of the older terms are unfamiliar, ask a veteran art director to enlighten you.
- Art direction
- Rapidiograph pens
- Prismacolor markers
- X-acto knife
- Proportion wheel
- Rubber cement
- Spray mount
- Art board
- Light table
- Pocket Pal
- AP Style Guide
- Communication Arts magazines
- Vertical files
- In person with creative mounted on black boards
- Revisions marked on pages in an overnight package
- Business suits
- In the big conference room
- Everybody smoked
- Drafting desk
- “The sole purpose of business is service. The sole purpose of advertising is explaining the service which business renders.” – Leo Burnett
- “Only amateurs use short copy.” – David Ogilvy
- Art direction
- Content development
- Social media development
- 3D animation
- App development
- MacBook laptop
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Marketing automation platforms
- Social media networks
- Search engines
- Subject matter experts
- PDFs sent to client
- Revisions posted in project management software
- Nobody smokes
- “Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.” – Milan Kundera
- “Market like the year you are in.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
As you can see, our creative predecessors had many tools of the trade, their job titles and processes were fairly rigid, and they became well-respected masters of their craft over time.
Today, we have tools of the transition, our job titles are fluid and rarely describe all the roles we must fill, and mastering any skill is impossible because the platform was updated last night.
Who had it better? That’s hard to say.
Our predecessors were hands-on professionals. They were both judged and restricted by the limitations of their own skills. The biggest dangers they faced were an errant X-acto knife cut, a lost “Federal Express” package, or the toxic fumes that formed a constant cloud in the Mounting Room.
Today’s creatives are digital professionals. Our software suites can create anything we can envision, but the concepts must start in our minds. The biggest dangers we face are a system meltdown, keeping all our passwords straight, and AI stealing our jobs.
As Boomm celebrates its 25th anniversary, it’s impossible to predict what tools will shape creativity 25 years from now. I sincerely hope the profession will still be driven by the power of human ideas. In any case, it has been a treat to revisit a long-gone world and smell the pungent Prismacolors one more time.