It’s been almost five weeks since the Deepwater Horizon disaster and barrels of oil continue to pour out of a broken pipe 5,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. “Green” BP is trying to stave off a PR disaster, red-faced politicians are playing to the cameras and people in the seafood and tourism businesses are wondering how they’re going to make their mortgage payments.
But not everyone’s upset about what’s going on.
When was the last time you saw an article about Toyota’s unintended acceleration problem or their subsequent loss of brand value and sales? How about the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia? Just a month and a half ago Massey Energy was the most hated company in the US and now both the company and chief executive Don Blakenship are about as well known as Rush Limbaugh’s third wife.
Here in the US, our attention spans are short and our memories are even shorter. Thanks to WiFi, our slavish dedication to our handheld devices, and up-to-the-minute programs such as Facebook and Twitter, we’re aware of everything that’s happening right now but have no recollection of what happened before.
People, we’ve been lied to… information isn’t power, it’s overwhelming. And it turns us into metaphorical asphalt – miles wide but inches deep.
The green revolution in Iran? Old news.
The earthquake in Haiti? Didn’t they fix that already?
Goldman Sachs? Yawn.
When the only thing that gets our attention is whatever just happened, nothing will matter for long. And for tomorrow’s marketers, Andy Warhol’s “fifteen minutes of fame” will seem like a lifetime.