The medium is the message. Sometimes.

Was Marshall McLuhan before his time? Is the medium now the message?

When a BrainPosse principal asked his five year old son what he was watching on TV a while back, the reply was "Some cheap Japanese animation."

A peek at the screen confirmed that he was right. That was a powerful affirmation of the fact that consumers perceive much more about the media they consume than marketing professionals often believe. Charlie's observation was especially stunning because:

· He was just five. He could read and work a computer, but he didn't have a Facebook page and wasn't generating content for YouTube. (Actually, Facebook and YouTube didn't exist then.)

· Although the animation was, in fact, Japanese, the characters had occidental features and clothing, and there were no cultural clues, such as signs in Kanji script.

· The cartoon had been dubbed into English. (Albeit roughly.)

· The animation was cheap. Lip positions weren't matched to sounds, the characters' mouths simply flapped open and closed with each syllable. Bodies stayed rigid as legs moved to walk. Often, when multiple characters were in a scene, only one moved.

When asked how he knew it was cheap Japanese animation, Charlie couldn't give a specific reason. His response was "You just look at it."

Same thing happens with commercial messages. Their form communicates as much as their content. Read more at