Nigel Hollis and JFK


Picked up something from the twitterstream this morning that seems to have got a few chums excited.

Nigel Hollis – chief adresearch guru at Millward Brown – has been musing on the relative roles of Mass & Social Media and whether on

Here's the tricky bit of his post

"All of this leads me to believe that social media is no way for a
mass market brand to disrupt the status quo. It is simply an additional
means to communicate and engage your loyal customers"

Well, sort of.

On the one hand, it's true that i. few mass market brands have (YET!) entirely switched their marketing budgets to Social Media and ii. as Faris points out the whole SM game tends to deliver slower changes in outcome than most heroic marketers would like (it's no easy quick fix for sure).

On the other hand, I suspect what lies behind Nigel's comments is this:

He still sees Mass Media as tools to do something to/send messages to/persuade etc audience members and Social Media as just a smaller scale and geekier version of the same kind of thing.

The point being (again) that SM is not really "media" in the sense that he thinks Mass Media are (nor indeed is mass media really as Neil et al have been pointing out): it's a different kind of thing.

And that different kind of thing seeks to create (or rather, stimulate or catylise) change in an entirely different way, by open up and humanising the business.

To paraphrase JFK, it's not what Social Media can do for you but what it can do to you and your business.


  1. Nigel Hollis
    February 1, 2010

    Hi Mark, methinks you assume too much! Of course social media are different from mass. But the fundamental problem is that most brands have not figured out how to engage with people in this new environment. They would far rather stick some more ads in front of them. That said, right now a big, well-liked brand is going to attract more attention on networks like Facebook than a weak or lesser-known brand. And if they are willing to experiment, listen and respond appropriately they will attract even more fans.

  2. Supra Shoes
    October 30, 2010

    I think will become your loyal readers,just for your beautiful article.