Message, Medium, Market

Throughout my professional life I’ve worked in the 3 M paradigm – message, medium, market. It’s a wide spectrum.

I’ve done audio on over 14,000 tv and radio commercials, some of them Super Bowl spectaculars viewed and heard by 100 million people, and also crafted individualretention letters to valued clients who encountered cognitive dissonance on their aeroplane rides; the experience didn’t mesh with their perception of the brand


Whatever the market or medium, how does the message come across? It’s not a direct route. The message travels through a network which can accrue intrinsic value. Words written on a page or spoken through a microphone aren’t necessarily perceived as they were conceived. It’s always gratifying when a message I’m involved with comes across successfully; the intent is to transmit information accurately and effectively. We all have at least a few of these memes bouncing around the brainsac, the term meme implying an idea or element of social behavior passed on through generations in a culture, especially by imitation. A meme can stick like peanut butter to the roof of the subconscious. In their way memes transmit ideas and belief information in a manner similar to the way genes transmit biological information. Memes can also mutate while spreading. A good example of this is a classroom of kids gathered in a circle, playing ‘telephone‘. The original message, whispered one student to the next, tends to mutate dramatically. Another definition is any viral phenomenon able to induce some agents to replicate it, resulting in copies being produced and broadcast. Once while conversing with the clerk at a Trader Joe’s checkout counter, the subject of whining came up. I offered my definition of whining: ‘frustration being pushed through a very small hole’. The clerk liked that and passed it along; the process repeated itself two more times, clerk to clerk, then on to several customers. Instant viral phenomenon.

Perhaps even more interesting is a meme spanning generations. Marcel Duchamp worked on ‘The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even’ for 8 years, 1915-1923. A complex, humorous piece enclosed by glass panes, ‘The Bride’ achieved minor notoriety in the years after its completion. In 1979 Bryan Ferry resurrected the meme with his solo album ‘The Bride Stripped Bare’. Thirty years later Richard Branson’s excellent treatise on commerce and trade was playfully entitled ‘Business Stripped Bare’.  The meme transcended time, accrued equity and mutated creatively.

With ANEW the memes and messages orbit around sustainability, repurposing, green building and living practices, and demonstrating that it can be done – a small non-profit can survive and thrive ‘doing what’s right with what’s left®’.