This Tuesday I was at Ad:Tech, “The Event for Digital Marketing,” where the worlds of advertising and digital are collided in an attempt to find the Higgs boson of modern marketing. Moscone West was crammed with booths, kiosks and an army of smartly-dressed people whose broad range of sartorial-tastes suggested they might be attendees at Don Draper and Ford Prefect’s overbooked wedding reception. This year, the standout displays belonged to old and older guard – Yahoo/Bing (when are they gonna merge and finally become Bingo?) and Google Engage, the search giant’s agency-friendly “program that helps you master the art of online marketing so you can help your clients succeed online.” Obviously, it’ll do nothing for your copywriting.
Google Engage seemed to be a mini-convention within Ad:Tech and boasted a white-carpeted seminar facility that looked like it nicked its design DNA from the Virgin America lounge at SFO. Lately, I’ve been piloting my own Google Disengage program, since the Big G suspended my Adsense account for possibly over-clicking my own ads, which is like the digital equivalent of being caught masturbating.
The breakout presence of this year’s Ad:Tech, however, wasn’t in the ad game at all – it was a vintage Bally/Midway Ms. Pac-Man arcade game that stood unused in some kind of pedestrian rest-stop deep into the hall. I have no idea why it was there or if it was affiliated with a promotion. It looked as if it had been beamed into the “future” by some errant time travel device circa 1981.
I didn’t bother to play it, though I did snap an iPhone pic to prove to myself I actually saw it. I think I might have been the only person to notice it – so, yeah, in keeping with the time travel theory, if some Butterfly Effect shit goes down, it’s on me. Now, I’m thinking that the Ms. Pac-Man game probably was the time machine itself – if only I had a quarter! I could have traveled back to the 80s and put an end to this advertising nightmare:
None of the above, however, doesn't even come near the sublime anarchy of this particular Frenchman and his Pac-Man cosplay. Special thanks to Static People's Dmitra Smith for turning me onto the madness of performance artist Rémi Gaillard.