United 4th: Teaching an old dog new tricks

Will Novosedlik

Outdoor advertising flexes new-media muscle with Clear Channel's Independence Day campaign.

For the longest time, a favorite pastime in the marketing communications industry has been to bash traditional media. The peer-to-peer revolution unleashed by networked conversations has overtaken the marketing world, and an entire cohort of digitally native crusaders have colonized the minds of certain marketers and considerably shaken their confidence.

It is said that there's no real social change without generational change, and we are definitely in the throes of a generational transition, definitively demarcated by a very different technological mindset on both sides of the divide.

On the upside, it's possible to bridge that divide and demonstrate that old dogs can learn new tricks. The great Marshall McLuhan often said, "Old media don't die. They become the content of the new media." Read on to appreciate how a company and a campaign, as well as a culture and a country, can accomplish something spectacular when open to the spirit of collaboration. It started with making media that seemed old — outdoor advertising — new again.