Only Summer Will Tell




The state of superficial being-in-the-know has never been worse as trams, trains and buses are flooded with free sheets touting shallow news and infotainment.

Slivers of news squeezed into newsfeeds or pushed onto your smartphone ensure that we all see that oh-so-cute cat video, and, gasp, thingamajig’s newest profile image. Not to forget the nip slip at that gala event and whatchamacallhim’s blooper? We watch the short news clip with the latest hostages at the bus stop, and, oh, look: Mr Whatshisface’s faked statement!
Daily we’re swamped by immense loads of information. Distractedly we try to absorb everything, add our two bits and pass the news along, all this with a brain that’s only half switched on. So we can show that, of course, we’re cued in. After all, we weren’t born yesterday.

Our need for gossip appears insatiable. So inexhaustible in fact that we prefer to guzzle up any old rehash rather than none at all. And to make matters worse, the silly season for news, summer, is just around the corner. Newsstands full of papers and tabloids containing stories too trivial to merit the label. Wonder who’s going to be the scapegoat of 2015?

Will we reach a satiation point of all this superficiality some day? What will it take for readers to become interested in real content again? Get them to take out a book in the train instead of scanning crumpled free sheets that’ve already passed through seven pairs of hands for articles they’ll have forgotten in five minutes. Will it ever pass, this weary interest in trivia? Or do we actually need a glut of mediocrity to better appreciate content that rises above it? Rubbish that would allow magazines and websites with real content to flourish and position themselves more clearly?

At some point readers with passive consumer behavior were defined as a target group that wants to be entertained and amused. Almost like the bored lover for whom you’ll do anything, because otherwise they’ll be out the door. And the media? In this sad relationship they’re the ones who are giving it their all to keep the defectors hanging on for just a little longer. All efforts are focused on that objective: Font size, image density, illustrations, content. Because otherwise those fickle creatures, the readers, might drift away. Texts interspaced with innumerable images so they don’t get bored. No links to other sites, or we’ll lose the readers. A short clip here, to keep them entertained, a catchy headline, in order that the readers might linger a little longer. It’s a bit like a hopeless affair where from the start you know you’ve lost, but you still give it all you’ve got hoping to stave off the inevitable.

But what would our advice to the desperate suitor be in real life? Get real! Stop bending over backwards. Be yourself. And, if they’re interested they’ll come to you. And if not, so be it. What will be, will be.

Wouldn’t it be great if the media started to behave this way again and stopped being so wishy-washy. They’ve become so slavish towards their bored “clients” that they’re starting to become boring too. On that note, I still wish everyone a summer break full of stimulating content.


This article also appears in PUNKTMagazin. The Swiss magazine combines economics, investment and lifestyle and is published every two months. Branders CEO René Allemann writes a column for the publication. You'll find more information on PUNKTMagazin here:

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René Allemann

René Allemann

Born in Zurich, René Allemann founded the consulting firm Branders in 2005. With 20 employees, the branding agency creates, maintains and manages brands. The Brander journal is published by the Branders Group.

The Brander is a publication of the Branders Group