The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance
By Rory Sutherland, Executive Creative Director and Vice-Chairman, OgilvyOne London; Vice-Chairman, Ogilvy Group UK
You know those passages in the memoirs of the pre-war rich? Colonial civil servants who describe how “Six hours later I awoke to discover that both my houseboys had scarpered into the bush, leaving me to make my own breakfast.” Or Cabinet Ministers who have “always loathed summer in Portofino, not least because the Daily Telegraph arrives two days late” .
Although the writer is hoping for your sympathy, your reaction is more along the lines of “And you think you’ve got problems, mate?”
Well, I had a little of the same reaction reading this glorious piece from 1982. Because, while everything King says is absolutely right and true, and though his points are even more relevant now than then, I still can’t help sneakily envying his problems. It seems to me that, writing in 1982, King couldn’t imagine how much worse things were going to get.
Asked to speak about whether advertising was art or science, King characteristically, turned the question around, producing a brilliant analysis of why advertising is both art and science. But here’s the point: what kind of science? What he called “Old Science” (deductive, logical and useless) was contrasted to “New Science”, which is creative and harnessed to innovation.
Our Business Today is Almost Completely in Thrall to Old Science
Or, put less kindly, to Bad Science. And why ...