The Revolution Will Not Happen on Tuesday

I recently came across an article that was expounding on the ever-changing media landscape, and how technology is turning the marketing world upside down.

While there may be some truth to that, I couldn’t help but smile to myself regarding one of the great Alvin Eicoff stories I witnessed over the years.

I was fortunate to spend a great deal of time with Al in my early years in the business. Those that knew Al understood that he was a man well ahead of his time. And like many great pioneers, people knew that Al could be a bit eccentric and, sometimes, forgetful.

Several years ago I accompanied Al to a speech he was giving on the future of advertising. It was a panel discussion and Al was one of three speakers. All of the speakers did a great job, and now it was time to open it up to the crowd for questions.

Many great questions were being asked, but I could tell Al was starting to lose interest. Finally, someone stood up and asked, “So, Mr. Eicoff, when do you think the technology revolution is going to change your business?”

I turned to notice that Alvin had not heard a word the gentleman had said, and, in fact, was engrossed in a doodle he was working on. After several awkward moments, Alvin looked up to notice people were waiting with bated breath to hear his answer -- to a question he didn’t hear.

“Tuesday,” he answered.

Al looked back down and went back to his drawing.

That moment, while hilarious, has always stayed with me for two reasons:

Marketing changes have always come as an evolution, not a revolution – it is not going to happen on a “Tuesday."

The rapidly changing technology is bringing fascinating opportunities for all involved – but we cannot become mesmerized by the shiny new object. The message is as important, if not more so, than how the message is delivered.

I can only imagine what Alvin would have done today with the tools now available.  There’s no doubt he would have embraced it all. But I also know that he would have never taken his eye off the message – without it, the rest is meaningless.