On The Media co-host Bob Garfield has been writing a column for Advertising Age since the mid 1980s. Now he’s retiring from the publication (fortunately for us, he’ll stick with On The Media).

Garfield recently did an instant message interview with the New York Times‘ Media Decoder, and the chat is full of his insights and humor.

Decoder: How does it feel to not be staring down a weekly column deadline?

Garfield: I interviewed a guy once who had had the hiccups for 25 years. He told me about the annoyance, the embarrassment, the effects on his marriage, the pain. At the end of the interview, I asked him if he wanted to get rid of the hiccups. He said no: The hiccups had become part of him.

Decoder: But you dumped the hiccups anyway. How come?

Garfield: Several reasons, not the least of which is that it was a moral certainty that in the next year or so, the hiccups would have dumped me. Full-time critics are dropping like flies. Beyond that, I’ve been spending the past five or six years telling anybody who would listen that advertising is doomed — the hypocrisy factor was beginning to come up. “Doomed, Bob, really? So why are you writing every week about advertising?”

Decoder: What was the weirdest response to your decision?

Garfield: I don’t know about weirdest, but the funniest was some tweet that said “Bob Garfield finally gets it right.” I guess he didn’t much care for my ad criticism.

Decoder: Let’s talk about your book. The name is ….

Garfield: “The Chaos Scenario,” available at a fine bookseller near you. Did I mention “The Chaos Scenario”?

Decoder: “The Chaos Scenario.” Got it. Nothing like repetition to goose the brand. Give me the IM version of what the book is about.

Garfield: Mass media implodes due to the digital revolution. For several reasons, advertising doesn’t work in a digital/micromedia world. That decoupling ends the most delicious 350-year accident of history: Mass advertising underwriting high-production-value mass media, including journalism, broadcast television, etc. The book lays out the problem, then talks about what happens next, not just for media and marketing, but all institutions operating in a suddenly no-longer-top-down world.

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