Recently I got a message on Twitter.

“For Christ sake Dave. Stop retweeting your book fan kudos. I follow you because I like your thinking. You pollute your stream.”

So, apparently I’m polluting my stream.

How am I doing that?

Well, every time someone says something nice about my book, I click retweet.

And by doing that I’m polluting my stream.

But what is this stream I’m polluting?

Well the stream seems to be the little messages I put up on twitter.

Apparently, added together they constitute a stream.

This person likes all the little messages, they form a pleasant stream.

But there are things he doesn’t like amongst these messages.

If I put little adverts for my book (retweets) in amongst the messages, these are the pollution.

But now I have a question.

Does this person work in advertising?

Does he understand what we do?

Does he understand how advertising works?

Real advertising.

Television, magazines, newspapers, posters, radio, Point of Sale, online.

We have ideas intended to get people’s attention.

If they’re good, people like to watch them.

They enjoy them and that makes them give us their attention.

Then, when we’ve got their attention, we slip in a sales message.

People don’t mind that.

They understand that’s how it works.

What we’re doing is selling.

But to do that properly we have to provide entertainment, something interesting.

We have to give them a reason to watch.

Otherwise they won’t watch.

The entertainment is there to do a job.

It’s there to make them pay attention to the sales message.

The job is the sales message.

The job is not the entertainment.

The entertainment is not the stream.

The sales message is not the pollution.

IMHO this is what’s wrong with our business at present.

The view that the entertainment is the sole job.

If we get the entertainment right sales will just follow automatically.

We won’t have to pollute the lovely little stream of entertainment with a nasty sales message.

Well that was never quite how I saw the job, or twitter.

What happened was that our agency needed a higher profile.

One way to do that was get people to visit our website.

So the consensus was, I should start writing a blog.

Hopefully that would get people to the website.

But not just for my own amusement, or free entertainment.

It had to do a job: to get the agency profile up.

Then I thought, we’re in advertising let’s advertise.

Twitter is a free medium, let’s use that.

If I write funny or interesting things on twitter, hopefully people will read them.

Then, when I’ve written a new blog, I’ll put in a plug for it.

So: Impact, Communication, Persuasion.

Just the way real advertising works.

I’ll write something interesting and/or entertaining and slip in a sales message.

That’s advertising, that’s what we do.

Are we supposed to be ashamed of that?

If so, why are we in advertising?

I always loved the way the best advertising contributed to people’s lives.

But it never pretended to be anything else but advertising.


The advertising doesn’t pollute the stream.

The advertising is the reason for the stream.

Without the advertising the stream wouldn’t exist.