Meet the 4th horseman!

In the field of communications too, there have been 4 game-changing moments heralded by 4 apocalyptic horsemen. And quite like their biblical counterparts, these horsemen left in their wake a swathe of fallout.


So who exactly were these horsemen?

The late 60s saw the advent of ‘the idea’ in advertising. Almost overnight, the resounding mantra became ‘what’s the idea?’ replacing the earlier call, ‘what’s the slogan?’ Legends of this new trade like Bill Bernbach and David Ogilvy led this movement. And almost overnight the socalled slogan-writers fell apart, unable to cope with how to think ideas, rather than slogans.


Then in the late 70s…rode in the next horseman on his fiery steed. This was a media revolution. TV and film became the next big thing. Those who had made the shift to the idea stage found film to be the next great chasm. Thinking stories rather than images. Too often agencies struggled with what was derided as, ‘print in motion’.

Came the 80’s! And Sir John Hegarty’s landmark statement changed the perspective once again. ‘Words are barriers and visuals are bridges’. With that, the static medium, the bastion of the written word became the hunting ground of intriguing visual statements. This 3rd horseman yet again brought a conceptual shift.

The 4th horseman took his time coming. But arrive…he sure did. And this time, the change has been of truly epic proportions. This revolution has been a combination of media and with it, a sea-change in concept. The advent of the largely misunderstood digital medium.
How often have we seen clients demanding a ‘digital campaign’ because there’s not ‘enough money for an above-the-line’? How often have we seen ATL campaigns with lip-service in digital? And how often have we been told ‘just give me a social calendar with a new digital posts everyday’?
The idea that digital is the only true 2-way street…and more importantly, digital has essentially brought reality into advertising… are concepts that are daunting to say the least!
Well, ‘Digital’ is not only here to say, it also demands a huge mind shift on the part of both agencies and advertisers. Unlike the biblical riders, digital may not be last horseman in the field of communications but like its counterpart it is no less apocalyptic!

By Inam Kazimi (ECD TDF Group)

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