Everyone has the content religion.
If you toil under the marketing umbrella, your updated job description likely includes the word “content.”
And publications ranging from BuzzFeed to Fortune to BusinessInsider have created business units to address — that’s right — developing content for companies.
Which explains why the mantra, “Content Is King,” has been chanted into the ground.
We tend to think of this infatuation with content as a recent phenomenon, that the rise of digital media prompted the invention of content (now there’s a patent with value).
But is this so?
I investigated the matter to determine if content existed before the World Wide Web.
It turns out that not only did content exist before the Web, its presence found its way into popular culture as far back as the 1960s. In the video clip below from the 1967 Academy Award-winning movie, “The Graduate,” watch Mr. McGuire offer career advice to Dustin Hoffman’s character, Benjamin.
I’m sorry that the age of the video has somewhat eroded the audio quality. If you have trouble, here’s a written version of the dialogue from the scene once Mr. McGuire and Dustin Hoffman move outside.
Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes I am.
Mr. McGuire: Content …
Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in content. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Dustin Hoffman: Yes I will.
Mr. McGuire: Shhhh. Enough said. That’s a deal.
We can safely conclude that yes, content existed before the World Wide Web.
P.S. Watching this scene unfold never gets old. Business communicators can hone their storytelling technique from other movies like the opening of “500 Days of Summer.”
Steve Farnsworth A.K.A. @Steveology
Freakin’ hysterical! Well done Sir.
I can hear my wife in the background saying “Don’t encourage him!”
Storytelling Techniques For Effective Business Communications…
I always thought that marketing umbrella — especially Ishmael’s — came from scenes and dialog set in:
1. Field of Dreams (Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa [or San Jose PR].);
2. Mystery, Alaska (Did they skate the river? Did they pull a dogsled?);
3. Apocalypse Now (Surf or fight! / Charlie don’t surf! Hey soldier, do you know who’s in command here? / Ain’t you?);
4. The Natural (You know my mama wanted me to be a farmer. / My dad wanted me to be a baseball player [or PR dude]. / Well you’re better than any player I ever had. And you’re the best God damn hitter I ever saw. Suit up.); and
5. Animal House (War’s over, man. Wormer dropped the big one. / What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! / Germans? / Forget it, he’s rolling. / And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough…[thinks hard of something to say] The tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go! / “Ooh, we’re afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble.” Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I’m not gonna take this. Wormer, he’s a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer… / Dead! Bluto’s right. Psychotic… but absolutely right. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part! / We’re just the guys to do it.
Great scenes. Great storytelling. I also figure it’s o.k. to periodically tap a classic like “The Graduate.” This is one of my favorite posts, but the GA numbers show my view is not shared by others. Good reminder that when something strongly amuses me, I probably shouldn’t write about it.