Game of Communication

I often hear the phrase ‘Those younger generations don’t care about [insert rather boring and dry topic here]’. Fiscal responsibility. Modern Politics. The Share Market. We do actually care about these important issues, we just don’t gather information about them in the traditional manner. So how do we learn about these crucial matters? I’ll give you one guess . . . Entertainment.


The Economist recently published a very interesting article. Entitled ‘Game of Loans’, this piece of writing examined the fiscal irresponsibility and sovereign debt crisis of Queen Mother Cersei from Game of Thrones who was left undertaking a walk of shame through the streets of the capital at the end of the last season.

On the surface this idea for an article sounds ridiculous, especially in The Economist. Game of Thrones is a cult television show known for its prolonged nudity, violence and adultery so why should it be used to examine economic relationships? But it actually serves a much greater purpose.

Have you ever had to explain an important and complex idea to someone with very little knowledge of the issue? How do you get the message across? Do you speak at a high level quoting theories and equations well above the understanding of your conversational partner? No. You try to explain it using an area of communal knowledge. Like explaining a financial metaphor using a sports team. Or even simple mathematics using Smarties.

Well, today’s generations learn through entertainment. They aren’t incapable of understanding complex topics, they just have a great knowledge of areas that have been covered in entertaining ways.

Take musical theatre for example . . .

Musical theatre fans have an extensive knowledge of the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris (Les Miserablés), the Argentinian Revolution of 1951 (Evita), the plight of the Austrians during World War II (The Sound of Music) and, most recently, the story behind the founding of the United States (Hamilton). They may not know a great deal of information about many other important battles in history, but they understand these ones in great details because they have been presented in a manner which strongly resonates with the audience.

But what about modern day issues?

We turn to online content creators because they not only inform us, but they do it in an engaging manner that is substantially different to reading about a world-wide issue in a newspaper. Buzzfeed and YouTube celebrities are pioneering this trend, and while they may put their own spin on issues, these people are changing opinions because they are taking a complex issue and presenting it in a format which resonates with audiences.

It is just basic marketing. If you want to get cut through in any industry or with any news, you need to look at your audience and find a channel and manner which resonates. Then they will actually listen when you try to communicate.

. . . And if you want to understand the impact of a sovereign debt crisis, I have a great article that is much more interesting than reading about it in a text book!