Bob Garfield is a senior editor of Advertising Age, one of the two leading magazines that track the advertising industry, the other being Adweek. Garfield is also co-host of NPRs, On the Media, which I subscribe to in podcast form. He’s generally regarded as the industry leading ad critic. A positive review of your campaign by Garfield is something to include on your resume.
The main blogging challenge for a critic would seem to be in making it significantly different than your regular column, which, by nature, is similar to a blog in that it’s a forum for your personal opinions.
Garfield generally succeeds by consistently using his blog in two ways that are distinctive from his columns. One is to comment on a range of topics related to the ad industry, such a the recent suicide of a leading creative executive at the agency, DDB. The other technique is to deliver mico-critiques, such as a recent post that pointed out that Bud Lite’s campaign featuring a guy who responds to series of situations with the single word, “Dude” is virtually identical to a campaign for the Ford Focus that ran 8 years ago.
This is an example of what I value most about the Bobosphere: Garfield’s long-term perspective on an industry that seems to be perpetually undergoing radical change for all the obvious Web 2.0 reasons. For me, a middle-aged guy who’s paddling fast to stay current in a youth-crazed industry that’s seems to be having a panic attack as it tries to convince clients that it still has the answers, Garfield is a refreshing and reassuring voice of reason. He knows from whence we came and uses his blog to remind us that the media may change, but the principles of good branding and effective persuasion never go out of style.
Visually, there’s nothing in the masthead of the Boboshere other than the title and subhead that distinguish it from Garfield’s regular column.
My main gripe with the Bobosphere is the irregularity and infrequency of it. The last two posts were April 29 and March 2, which suggests that Bob isn’t exactly embracing the concept of having yet another deadline. I’m hoping that he’ll blog about the pain of having to blog because your editor said you have to now. As a writer who is still reluctant to launch my own blog for fear of taking on another deadline, I’ll keep tuning in to the Bobosphere to see how Bob is feeling my pain.