The booing continues but have we already moved on?

September 13, 2015

Image via Flickr courtesy of Giuseppe Milo at  

I am one excited footy fan! The AFL finals kicked off over the weekend, the games have been thoroughly entertaining and close, and – importantly - my team has won (go Eagles!).

The game certainly steps up to a higher level at this time of year. Unfortunately, however, when it comes to the crowd booing Adam Goodes, there has been no such luck.

The Fremantle crowd continued on the (rather shameful) tradition of booing Goodes any time he got near the ball, perpetuating the raft of issues surrounding this. Yet one other issue surfaced this time around: the public’s, and in particular the media’s, lack of coverage.

Rewind back 2 to 3 weeks ago and this booing saga was the biggest media issue going on in Australia, dominating airwaves, driving debate and creating conversations across the country and even internationally.

Given the events in Syria, China’s market meltdown and the ongoing leadership debate, it is fair to say there has been no shortage of other stories to take our attention in the interim. However, now that the booing saga has re-surfaced over the weekend, where has the interest gone?

This silence speaks to our society’s growing inability to maintain attention and concentrate in an ever increasing, 24-hour, all-encompassing media world. A world where the latest issue rolls across people’s screens, tablets, phones and every other place in which their eyeball dares to look.

Perhaps in unison, or indeed feeding off the above, is the rise of slacktivism: when liking, sharing or venting one’s spleen on social media erroneously equals ‘mission accomplished’ in terms of solving the problem.

The risk in all of this is society’s growing inability to maintain attention, focus and ultimately carry through on an issue that isn’t simply solved on the spot. This is particularly true for the more entrenched, the more dynamic, and the more complex issues facing us – arguably the ones most important to focus our attention on.

What does this mean for us?

Coming back to the marketing world in which we operate, these dimensions pose similar issues of establishing and maintaining long-term engagement with brands, products and services.

As people tasked with discovering insight and conveying these through the power of storytelling, we would argue that the answer lies in first understanding the context around the issue, then in finding the most powerful and compelling narrative, and finally in identifying the forum through which this message is best communicated to the target audience.

Regrettably, until the DNA of this issue is cracked, the booing will undoubtedly resume and go by largely unreported, while the media curate their next clickbait, and the public like, share and comment on the story of the day.