The Medium is the Message

“The medium is the message.”

“The medium is the message.”

This phrase, coined more than 50 year ago by media theorist and cultural icon Marshall McLuhan, became a go-to phrase for media professionals and laypeople alike to describe the ways communication mediums (such as newspapers, television, radio, and, in more recent years, social media) affect the messages they convey. McLuhan argued that reading a newspaper article and watching a TV news report about the same topic are inherently different, and that the messages they convey are very different as well.

Initially posited as an observation about journalism, the phrase inevitably ends up in discussions about advertising and marketing, which drive journalism and share their mediums. Take, for example, a scenario suggested in a 2006 Guardian piece about McLuhan’s long-lived phrase–seeing a pair of shoes advertised in a laser-print handbill is far different than seeing the same pair of shoes worn on-screen by a glamorous actress. Although that scenario operates as examples of two very different mediums communicating the same message, more subtle differences between mediums, especially in the digital age, can have a great bearing on the messages they convey.

When it comes to branding and marketing, we have so many mediums at our disposal. At Visual Caffeine, we often take a multi-platform approach when we engage in “media blitzes” to promote our clients and their brands–targeted social media ads, print ads in newspapers and magazines and television appearances are just a few of the many ways we use media (the plural of medium) to do what we do best. And it’s our job as marketers to understand how those media will affect the message–your brand.

With the advent of social media marketing, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram are marketing messages like never before. McLuhan once called advertising “the greatest art form of the 20th century”, and this rings truer than ever, even past the “Mad Men”-era Golden Age of Advertising which McLuhan was referring to. Today, marketing messages are packaged and communicated in ways that are equal parts advertising and blogging–from cafes showing off their ambiance and latte art skills on Instagram to lingerie shop owners posting about their favorite bra brands on Facebook, social media have changed the marketing landscape for the better.

When potential customers receive marketing messages in the same feed as they hear about friends’ engagements and see pictures from last night’s concert, they are more likely to view the brand socially and therefore connect with it the way they connect with friends. Psychological and sociological studies about social media abound, and can only make our social media marketing stronger. Paired with trends in other forms of digital marketing, traditional marketing (television, newspaper, radio, print) and guerilla marketing, we at Visual Caffeine don’t pull any punches when it comes to expertly marketing the brands we help create–our final goal being the highest possible ROI for you.


Visual Caffeine is a boutique full-service marketing agency. Known as brand storytellers, Visual Caffeine offers in-house treatments for Marketing, Branding, Social Media, Web Design, Graphic Design, Copywriting, Web Development, App Development, Public Relations, SEO, Social Media Marketing, Content Writing and more. Founded by Cheale Villa in 1998 in Michigan, Visual Caffeine delivers the best Branding and Marketing to the Charlotte area and beyond. 


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