Classic Media vs. Social Media: A Comparison



Social Media drives so much of our marketing strategies, daily social life, connections, consumerism, etc. Therefore, it’s important to study the roots of Social Media; go up the family tree to ‘Ol Gramps: Classic Media. 

One of the most interesting descriptions of classic media was in the foreword of the text I am currently reading for one of my Social Media classes. Jack Klues, CEO of VivaKi Publicis Groupe, painted a picture with the hit TV series “Mad Men”. He described classic media as “a romantic period in the history of the American advertising industry”.

 “What fans might fail to recognize is that the pervasive drinking, smoking and office romances might have been facilitated by the relative simplicity of the marketing craft in the 1960s. In ‘the golden age of advertising,’ big ideas inspired extravagantly produced television commercials that would ultimately air on a handful of networks. Print, radio and outdoor ads played a supporting role. Full stop.”

Classic media was viewed as creative, painting pictures for the consumers. Today’s social media relies on consumers to tell them how it should be. We all are used to an immediate satisfaction, and feel that we should voice our opinion, especially as consumers. The two aspects to discuss in the picture above are: Communication with the Customer & Availability, because they go hand-in hand.


Communication with the Customer

Classic media is carefully planned and thought out, while Social Media is more “in the moment”. Consumers are now accustomed to quick responses, especially if consumer feedback is negative. In this way, a company has more opportunities to remain in a positive light with consumers. The upset consumer is no longer having to wait as long for the company to respond to their needs. While the speed of response has been a very positive change, communications with consumers in a public way may not always be seen as such. The publicity of both negative and positive consumer reviews/feedback can hinder the company’s image if too many consumers leave negative feedback, or the company is unprofessional in the manner that they take care of consumer feedback. On the contrary, for consumers, this is probably seen as a plus: they can view others’ opinions and companies replies to determine whether they want to support the company or not.





The availability of a company is very important, especially in today’s generation – where the majority of younger adults are on social media into the early morning hours. While it is definitely not expected that companies are directly responding to consumers into the wee hours of the morning, companies can, however, take advantage of this time window for heavy social media usage to schedule posts, tweets, pictures, etc. The “need to know” curiosity of today’s age pushes us to see what other friends are up to, read about local events through their Twitter page, etc. Even though classic media can be seen after working hours, and is planned to broadcast at certain times of the night as well, it does not provide interaction between consumer and company. This is where social media comes in. This video describes how a mobile app can provide a community feel to those who may need it most: newly diagnosed cancer patients. They are able to log into an app forum where they can post questions, fears, joys, etc. in a real-time environment.

Both classic and social media should always go hand-in-hand to support each other and to effectively reach all audiences. Those companies that are able to properly manage all outlets of classic media and social media will see the best results.



Klues, Jack. “Foreword”. Foreword. Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2010. xi-xii

“SXSW 2014: Social Media Continues to Feed the Instant Gratification Beast.” YouTube. YouTube, 17 Apr. 2014. Web. 22 May 2014. <;.



2 thoughts on “Classic Media vs. Social Media: A Comparison

  1. Excellent use of the Mad Men quote! I haven’t seen the show before, but I’ve always heard good things and this quote seemed spot on in terms of Classic advertising vs Social Media.

    I agree that Social Media is geared to be readily available. Classic Media strategies try to make up for their slow responses through 24-hour phone lines, but typically the late night phone calls always require a supervisor to actually help you during business hours. I like how you included the app that fosters the sense of community. Once businesses can create that community, they can create loyal customers for life.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Hampton
      I agree, the traditional customer service companies will say that they are readily available with late hours, however, they provide a skeleton staff to answer calls, thus adding a ridiculously long wait time. I am excited that many of these companies are turning to online chat for customer service. They can multi-task, allowing for quicker response times, while the customer can receive the support they need.

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