Text versus Image

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Went to a seminar held by ANVIE in Paris. We discussed in general the changing landscape of the new media. Joseph Jaffe’s book “Life after the 30 second spot” was cited at the beginning, along with the Ries’ and Zyman’s book on the end of advertising (as we know it), to set the stage. You have to enjoy how the internet and the new media options are pushing the traditional media to be more inventive. A McDonald’s billboard ad in Chicago tells you what time of day it is (sundial) as well as what you should be eating at that time. Among the many debates along the day, the one I enjoyed the most was the preeminence of image over text. What stirred people’s attention most was that it was positioned as a break with Judeo-Christian background which was more text-based than image–the Bible being central to that concept. One person in the room, departing from the core presentation, needed to express dissent as she felt Catholicism is replete with image. In any event, the interesting component to the discussion was that, while image is clearly a dominant element on the web and that we are working in an abstract, imaginary community-seeking world, there is some return to the value of text — text as content. Naturally, without playing to the mediatic strength of the format in which the text is presented (i.e. adding pictures or video, etc.), the audience’s reach and captivity will be diminished.

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