Post-Ascending Authority: Response #3


The third response to our Post-Ascending Authority statement from Services Unknown comes from AgCa founder and Commissioning Editor for Nowness & Conde Nast Avi Grewal.

When UK broadcasters were able to convert the prospect of product placement in TV into reality, it was a game changer. Then, as documentary programming moved online, even more questions started to tag around the content bubble. How could the purity in message survive to affront its editorial integrity? Could this integrity be maintained in the wild west of online content?

There was a feeling in-between cautiousness and fear for digital content creation. Can audiences discern between fact and fiction? Would lines become too blurred and brands exert an even more powerful influence over the content they were supporting?

The unease within content publishing landscape brewed for some time until the regulatory frameworks caught up.

In hindsight, I think we gave too little credit to the next generation of consumers and their in built filter between digital and reality. They are the most astute when it comes to identifying this particular kind of influence and manipulation. With their index fingers swiping screens and able to navigate between the real and constructed, their sense of ‘genuinity’ and developed coping mechanisms are becoming far more superior.

Now that this era of post-ascending authority is arriving, what does this generation have to offer, what might they do differently?

There is a baton carried on from millennials in regards to responsibility and impact. They are forcing companies to think harder about what they stand for beyond product and taglines - this new generation is skilled at spotting tokenism and bandwagon jumping. With this, it’s a race in which the tortoise wins every time. Advertising messages are cleverly finessed but fake, content providers, publishers and brands are being held to account in terms of working practices, political alliances and belief systems as well as the actual product they are putting forward.

In the search for originality, the desirable comes from unexpected avenues, from the lives of the ordinary but unique. We’re celebrating the normal, looking to things which are meaningful because they are actually attainable - that’s what is attractive. The question is, how easy is this is to replicate and discern from if it comes from the other direction? Can ideas and influence flow in both directions?

If we can strive to a respectful interchange that fuels a different type of creativity for the future, one in which brands, publishers, consumers, leaders and decision makers enjoy unfettered access to the needs and desires of each other, perhaps this is the kind of world we would all like to live in. A world where criticism, distaste, praise and discussion can all happen under the same roof unhindered by the constructs of whichever ‘channel’ we are present across.


Services Unknown is an open-ended Superimpose project that facilitates new ideas, discussion, events and product.

Read Post-Ascending Authority here.

You can read response #1 from Harry Benson here and response #2 from Lililan He here

Submission of new ideas and responses can be received at