Tone of voice | Pauhu Translations' blog

That’s life

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Creative director Anssi Järvinen of the SEK & Grey marketing agency opens our new Tone of Voice blog with his post about hidden advertising and the employment situation in the advertising industry. Monthly blog posts will be written by authors such as Clarisse Berggårdh, Sirpa Kirjonen, Pasi Kivioja and Matti Remes.


I was going to say something witty about professional issues. About the current state of marketing communications, the crumbling media, and their combined effect on both journalism and marketing. But my thoughts refused to come out as words onto my screen. My fingers froze on the keyboard and my thoughts were on the wrong wavelength.

My mind is wandering because of the many dramatic events lately – above all the confusion over the situation in Russia, the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and the numerous open questions surrounding it. The fear that we will never get any answers. A Finnish trial where officials try to prove their innocence of the murder of a little girl. They try to justify why eyes remained closed.

The media spews a lot of less-than-light matters, too. Even the weekend was dark. It reminded me of autumn, even though the calendar says it’s spring.

I could have written about hidden advertising and mull over how a brand who swears by transparency and wants to involve people in doing things together can resort to hidden advertising. Or to ponder the new, more presentable synonyms of hidden advertising which the aggravated media innovate for the grey zone.

I’m pondering if a brand’s behaviour includes hidden advertising, it can never build trust in its relationship with people amongst whom it wants to live, act and influence.

To avoid too much of a tight-ass attitude, I could have lightened up by saying that anyone can produce good content in the name of freedom of speech. Or content in general. In other words I could have said that collaborative blogs, native advertising and other such things are not intrinsically reprehensible forms of marketing communication. It’s more a question of how they are realised. Content produced with sly intent, designed to act anonymously without revealing its motives, is not honest behaviour.

I had also intended to write about newly examined business school graduates that have a gaping hole in their education: they are not taught what their education does not qualify them for, such as working as a copywriter or a graphic designer. Starting a debate about this issue right now, which is significant in itself, is only natural since investments in marketing communications have fallen so low that it has created a workforce oversupply like the one in the media industry.

Hiring isn’t competitive, so the best talent gravitates to the other side of the table or to other jobs entirely. I would have raised my concern about the significance of this kind of development for Finland’s competitive marketing capability, which isn’t anywhere near the level of its competitors, but it’s time for me to go to bed. With the dawn of a new day, life’s anguish abates, and my mind will be filled with bright thoughts about the current state of marketing communications and the crumbling media and their combined effect on both journalism and marketing.

That’s life. I suppose that’s what it should be like.


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