At the risk of being more controversial than this fragile market could bear, let me present a fledgling argument that keeps floating back into my head. I'll continue to explore it in the coming weeks.
I just don't think the future's digital. It is for you and I of course, as people, as citizen-consumers. We're still in the foothills of the personal, cultural and social transformations wrought by web and rich-featured mobility.
I'm talking, for example, about music and for advertising, two industries (well, perhaps music's no longer big enough to be called "an industry") that are themselves in the foothills of post-Internet reinvention. But both are starting to accept that in many senses, digital is more agent of destruction than saviour of value.
Music has in the past year come to broadly accept that downloads will never replace physical sales. Having been initially too suspicious of the digital suitor, the business then jumped into its arms, and is now thinking about moving back to Mum's. But the old bedroom's not there any more ... we're forced forwards to ... what exactly?
This has accelerated, and made more urgent, the drive to the still-vague "bands and brands" field of opportunity.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire in a sense: advertisers themselves are in flux as well as crisis, and while always intrigued by the music discussion, still uncertain as to the argument for moving big money away from the home turf of big ads.
Outside of music and other forms of consumer engagement, advertisers are increasingly expressing a clear and just as urgent desire to move significant focus and spend away from "reach and frequency" based models of communication, and towards what are broadly talked of as digital channels. Social media in particular is viewed as a must-have area for consumer engagement: there's a sense that given the flight to Facebook and Twitter by their audiences, this is a nut that absolutely must be cracked to sustain any credible form of consumer connection.
All fine. But is this really about digital? I think not. The challenge for brands is exacerbated by the very word. Describing Facebook and Twitter as digital channels is not only tautological - it misses the point: they are, for more importantly, new behaviours that derive from quite fundamental changes in culture.
To approach such transformations in the marketing landscape as "digital" - and indeed from the advertiser and agency point of view, to see that landscape as still mainly concerning "media" - is to pose questions that yield feeble, disempowering answers. Social media are problematic precisely because they are only media in the very precise, academic, McLuhanist sense of being "extensions of man". This is not your mothers' media, and pumping content and messaging into such environments is not the answer.
So, both music - and perhaps eventually much of entertainment - and advertising, are hugely affected by the digital revolution, and indeed digital channels are where much of the battle is fought.
But look at the commercial value that the cultural and consumer impacts of the web have already sucked out. The future's digital? Certainly not. The future's ... what exactly, then?
More on this soonest, and comments more than welcome - urgently sought!