In 1942, Russia was being overrun by German tanks.
The Russians needed a fast, cheap way to combat them.
One of their ideas was to use dogs.
Training dogs to carry explosives under the tanks made sense.
Dogs were fast and could each carry a small bomb.
The only problem was the dogs couldn’t be trained to put the bomb down and run away.
So the dogs would just have to explode with the bombs.
It still made sense.
There were plenty of dogs, they were cheap and easy to train.
So the Russians set up canine-training schools staffed by experts and scientists.
People who knew exactly how dogs thought.
They decided the best kind of dog to use would be Alsatians: strong, brave, and fast.
Each dog was trained to wear a vest with 28lb of explosives.
They were kept permanently hungry and their food was always kept under a tank.
So they learned to crawl under a tank to get their food.
In a battle, a lever sticking out of the explosives would hit the bottom of the tank.
That would trigger the bomb and it would explode.
Thousands of dogs were trained this way by the experts.
Experts who knew absolutely every detail about canine behaviour.
So what happened the first time they used dogs in battle?
Well, not quite what the experts thought.
Because although the experts had considered everything about dogs they hadn’t considered everything about German tanks.
The dogs had been trained on Russian tanks, which ran on diesel.
But German tanks ran on petrol.
The average dog’s sense of smell is ten thousand times more sensitive than a human’s.
To the dogs the smell of petrol versus diesel made them totally different things.
The dogs wouldn’t go anywhere near the German tanks.
They ran around looking for Russian tanks then crawled underneath looking for food.
The Russian soldiers saw this and tried to shoot the dogs.
Many Russian soldiers were killed before the dogs either exploded or were shot.
Because the experts had become so involved in the thing they were studying, they forgot the main part of the job.
It wasn’t dogs, the main part was destroying German tanks.
But that’s the way it is with experts.
They become so involved in the details they forget the big picture.
Which is exactly what’s happened in our business.
We’ve become inundated with experts who can only see the details.
The complicated nature of the technology and making sure all advertising fits into absolutely every possible space.
And they get all the details right, except none of it works.
Because their priority is wrong: the advertising itself is dull and boring.
So no one wants to look at any of it.
And consequently we have ad-blocking technology.
And their solution to ad-blocking is to find even more media space to fill up with ads that no one wants to look at.
I recently heard ‘content’ described as ‘digital landfill’.
That’s because advertising ‘experts’ are operating at the level of Russian dog trainers.