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Scott Armstrong


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In this day and age, is presentation more important than content?

It's been 80 years of TV and even longer when it comes to advertising.

So much is consumed via screens and it's tempting to take things at face value.

Music is a good example of this: are people too ready to accept the spiel without thinking about the content they are being sold?

This question does not refer only to marketing for products but also political spin and network "news"


Closing Statement from Scott Armstrong

in conclusion, it's pretty obvious that presentation carries a lot of weight, sometimes more weight than the message, product or content.

i also realised that despite the constant hammering on our ears and eyes by the advertisers and spin-doctors out there, people are complex and they are not affected in the way that propagandists may like to think.

i also figure that some people prefer things that way - living in a world of screens where the presented is more attractive than the reality.

i believe that people are far more media-savvy than ever before and that has a huge impact on the way that a message is received. this is the part that the propagandists don't have control over - though, they probably feel that data mining is getting them closer (i don't believe it is beyond generalisations).

cheers to everyone who added their thoughts.

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    Mar 16 2014: Yes in the sense that no one will hear you unless you present the information in a manner they will hear. In this day and age where we are inundated with "information", little of it is heard.

    The vehicle for this marketing/information is emotion. Emotion is the disposition of the interest of the individual. E.G. information presented in a cheerful manner will not be heard by someone who is angry or vice versa.

    The news is always sold through fear. My solution is don't watch the news, as I haven't in decades.

    Reality by definition is agreement, consequently it can be created. Edward Bernays was the pioneer of this, the communist leaders credit him with everything they know about propaganda. Politicians have been using this knowledge ever since.

    Another solution is to be careful about what you agree with consciously or unwittingly. This is the very core of freedom and it requires a constant use of logic.
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      Mar 18 2014: i've been thinking - and this may not seem sensible - that the audience doesn't matter one whit.

      as a performer, it may seem counter to my purpose but, for me, writing and performing songs is a very personal, inner thing. as i get older, it's something that i need to do and i have realised that the audience is superfluous to that process.

      my band is not well-known by any stretch of the imagination and yet we still play. we still do gigs, write and rehearse new material and we do it in our own way with no pressure from management, record company or irate mothers of 8 year old girls who feel we are not being upstanding role models.

      funnily enough, it's that very attitude that real people respond to and it is one of the first things killed off when attempting to appeal to a broad audience.

      of course, at a real, live gig, the audience is equally as important as the band. if either one does not do their job, the energy is minimal but when both are "into it" the energy is palpable.

      i'm a ball of contradictions :)
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        Mar 18 2014: I think I get what you are saying. I get that you are saying that you first have to have something to say. I think the better authors fit this mold as they have lived what they write about.

        I think you are talking about genuine communication. Art and communication are the same thing.

        Although an audience is not part of the creation of the art, there is no communication without the audience, When it is genuine communication it is palpable it is real.
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          Mar 18 2014: the creative process (which is a terribly bureaucratic way to say it) requires no audience. in fact, an audience can be detrimental to song-writing as i need to feel comfortable enough to churn out the rubbish in order to get to the good stuff. it's only the final form that i am happy with performing in front of others.

          my problem with a lot of popular music is that people appear to be choosing an audience (kids) and then building everything from that. when that's the process, then the content is completely irrelevant beyond gimmicks and appearances designed to appeal to the chosen audience.

          it's that old advertising trick: sell the punters themselves, in which case, you're selling them nothing
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        Mar 18 2014: Yea that is what advertisers call positioning. So they don't have anything to say. I consider the "news" to be an example of that. Either way it is Not communication.
    • Mar 18 2014: Pat,

      Yes, liked what you said … I have found that presenting certain ideas in regards to what others insist I agree and consent may not be heard by them because of what they insist I agree and consent… Wonder how to get over that hurtle and maintaining a rather objective cool focus…
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        Mar 18 2014: I read something the other day that might be apt,

        The biggest communication problem is that we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply.
        • Mar 18 2014: Pat,

          That being the case: how does one present something so that others reply back the content we seek for them to understand? especially when certain ideas in regards create cognitive dissonance within maintained ideas they have.
        • Mar 18 2014: Pat

          could not agree more - but it is even worse, the reply has nothing to do with what is said or the question asked -they are trying to make their point or show how smart they are.
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          Mar 18 2014: Pat that is the statement of the year. Everything is about the protection of the rice bowl. This statement also explains the value of spin doctors, talking heads, spokespersons, and the complete disconnect with general population.

          I was at a townhall meeting with John McCain and he was asked a question and he immediately attacked and told of his experience as a POW and years in Congress and gave his resume ... ahhhh what was the question? The whole purpose was to discourage anyone from asking any more questions ... it worked.

          Socialism requires obediance ... not inquiring minds.

          Great quote. Bob.
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        Mar 18 2014: Esteban

        What makes you think they are interested in what you are talking about?

        Decide if you want to understand them.
        • Mar 18 2014: Pat this conversations almost over so you may not be able to replay …

          to sort of use your word and answer your question…
          what some are interested in has nothing to do with what is relevant to be done and accomplished -they are trying to make their point or show how something, or posit something they have are rather than focus on what needs to be embraces, cultivated…. and done. Sometimes substance and content is key though it may be required to be present just right.

          thanks by the way your comment is part of my latest insight… present something so that others reply back the content we seek for them to understand… how to do that is my next task
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        Mar 18 2014: Wayne

        What is the point in talking to them?

        The key is interest are you interested in them, do you have any interests in common, what are their interests?

        By using interest by staying interested this posturing can be sidestepped. Salesman do this all the time.
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        Mar 18 2014: Esteban

        If you want them to be interested in what you are talking about you have to be interested in it as well. If you stay interested you will pull them into interest as well. You have to stay interested. This is the discipline of a salesman.

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