There are lots of things I don’t like to look at. Old toothbrushes, any kind of green soup, my boss’ furious face when I pitch him yet another idea that involves an angry bear.
I would happily ‘fast forward’ through all of these visual horrors, but despite what that impudent rascal Marty McFly will have us believe, monkeying around with the human experience isn’t the done thing.
And yet, in a society like ours that sits trapped under the evil, greasy thumb of technology, we all possess that very power to ‘fast forward’ advertisements should we find them an irritation.
If marketing and advertising is already a hurdle race, this latest technological development is the equivalent of waiting until the competitors have ran the full course and then smashing them across the shins with one final, secret hurdle.
What upsets me most (apart from the bit in Finding Nemo where his mum gets eaten) is the fact that watching adverts can actually be a rewarding and informative thing to do. Rather than a crass intrusion on your episode of ‘Angry Brides’ or ‘The Man Who Turned Into a Badger’ (Both Channel 5) I believe TV adverts are actually an illuminating window into our world.
I’d argue that, aside from their commercial purpose, adverts are a social barometer for our attitudes, emotions, humour, ambition and cultural values. You can learn an awful lot about a society from the adverts they produce and consume. In the same way a society can learn a lot about itself from the goods and services that are being offered to them and the manner in which that offering is delivered.
I would never go as far to say that advertising is a form of art. I would, however, reasonably suggest that advertising is like art’s grubby cousin. Its motives may ultimately be to prompt a specific (often consumerist) response but it is also a medium which is very much reflective of the social mood and the human condition.
Also, the irony is that in providing people with this ‘fast forward’ function to help them avoid advertising in their TV viewing, it has seen ads move into an even wider range of spaces and media channels. As if blocking off one particular route to the market was going to stop the brilliantly devious rascals that work in the advertising world.
What it does serve to emphasise is that the modern consumer is no longer the mindless guzzler of advertising messages they once were assumed to be. Not only do advertisers have to wriggle their way around the savvy modern audience, they also have to be imaginative enough to captivate today’s remarkably capricious consumer.
And if that mean advertisers and marketers are going to have to work harder and think bigger then that can only mean good things for the quality of the industry.
And with that in mind I’m off to pitch an idea to my boss about using an angry bear to sell car insurance. He’s going to hate it.
Andrew ‘The Angry Bear’ Boulton is a copywriter at the Together Agency
You will be sent a verification email. Click on the link in the email to post your comment.
Opinion, blogs and columnists - call them what you like - this is the section where people have something to say. You might agree or you might not - whatever opinion you have make your views known in comments. Views of writers are not necessarily those of The Drum. If you would like to contribute a comment piece, email your idea to email@example.com.