Change, delicious change.
Confession time. I’m a foodie and a Travel Channel junkie. And when I’m not marveling at Andrew Richman’s magnanimous, meat masticating “Man vs. Food”, drooling over a deluge of “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” with Fieri as my “Guy-d”, or blenching at the unflinching bravery of Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern, I’m riveted to the ardent, bohemian rantings of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.”
Those who know “No Reservations” know that it is, in simple terms, nothing short of food porn. Which is to say that Anthony, or “Tony” as his crew calls him, travels the globe enjoying the kind of gastronomic experiences about which most folks merely fantasize. And it’s all captured on video, edited, scored and played back for my hedonic, voyeuristic enjoyment in gratuitous sixty-minute segments.
Sure, there are nods to the cultural aspects of the places Tony visits, along with plenty of nods from Tony to himself. Which is part of the show’s appeal. But mostly it’s about the food. Which is probably why the inaugural episode featured the comestible wonders of Paris, France.
A hundred episodes later, Tony and the crew returned to Paris to find that something strange and wonderful was going on. Change. And not just any change. A change in the way Parisians think about, prepare and consume food. While watching, I couldn’t help but notice how this change is reflective of the shifting way in which we Americans think about, prepare and consume media.
In Paris, a new generation of chefs are leaving the Michelin stars behind in favor of more casual, friendly, neighborhood oriented dining. Some aren’t even formally schooled in the culinary arts. Yet, they somehow are creating some of the most inventive and satisfying dishes France has ever seen. And they’re doing it in minutes, not hours and for a fraction of the cost of a five star meal.
As chef Christian Constant puts it, people are “…looking for a more convivial atmosphere, more simplicity and more comfort food.”
Renowned French Chef Eric Ripert also observes that, once upon a time those who sought to enjoy a fine meal in Paris could only expect to find one at places where the dining experience was drawn out for hours. Whereas nowadays, the pace has quickened.
“The people are getting sick of the fancy places and the stuffy service.” exclaims chef Inaki Aizpitarte, whose creative use of basic, locally available ingredients combined in unique and creative ways sums up what all of them are saying, but without the use of words. The eating experience alone had Tony and Eric Ripert almost in tears.
In America, a new generation of marketers is leaving Mass Media behind in favor of more casual, friendly, neighborhood oriented brands. Some aren’t even formally trained in the discipline of advertising and marketing. Yet, they somehow are creating some of the most inventive and effective means of building brands. And they’re winning the attention of large groups of consumers for a fraction of the cost of traditional media.
As Social Media maven Jonathan Yagel puts it, people are “…looking for more personalized, direct connection…” to their brands.
The renowned American Marketing Association observes that once upon a time those who sought to enjoy advertising success could only expect to find it through ad-campaigns that were focused on mass media. Whereas nowadays, the climate has changed.
“The people are getting sick of being marketed to” exclaims Brian Halligan, Chief Executive of Hub Spot whose idea of “inbound marketing” has earned him well over $65 million dollars in venture capital, putting him well on his way to taking over where Madison Avenue ends. The rate of growth for these kinds of ideas have many traditionalists in tears.
The pomp and circumstance that once pervaded the Parisian culinary scene is being displaced by the benevolence and bourgeoise of a new generation of Parisians who are seemingly in a relentless pursuit of providing the simple pleasures of good food at a reasonable price.
The chest pounding and hyperbole that once pervaded American mass media is being displaced by the authenticity and altruism of a new generation of American marketers who realize they must develop meaningful, long-term relationships with consumers or pay the price.
These ways of thinking, of course, are in stark contrast to those of the not-so-distant past where tradition and convention were the norm and not to be questioned. Especially by newcomers.
Today, changes in Parisian food scene and American marketing brought about by newcomers are shaking the very foundations on which they stand.
And as far as I’m concerned, the future of both promise to be deliciously more palatable than their pasts could have ever hoped to be.