11 December 2011

The Age of Persuasion... is over.

Today marks a fond farewell to the five-year run of The Age of Persuasion on CBC Radio.  In more than 100 half-hour documentaries, AOP explored the countless ways marketing and advertising have infused themselves in every aspect of 21st Century life.

I should stress that it was not CBC's decision to conclude the series.

It was time.

The Age of Persuasion struck a resonant chord:  more than a half million listeners tuned in each week to CBC, and to WBEZ Chicago, who picked up the series in 2011.  That's a larger audience than that which tunes into Peter Mansbridge on The National.  (Pardon the momentary outburst of hubris.)

It prompted a bestselling book of the same name, published in Canada, the U.S., and soon, worldwide in a Chinese-language version.

The series was designed to celebrate great marketing (which, at best, is artful relationship-building), and to condemn bad marketing (which constitutes an embarrassing majority of today's marketing messages). It challenged listeners to abandon the old "us" and "them" mentality about consumers and advertisers, for we are all, in the end, practitioners of persuasion.

From ashes to ashes, beautiful things always grow in their place.

For the moment, won't you join me in a fond tip of the glass to The Age of Persuasion.

The idea that became a brand unto itself.  

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