For all of the time, effort and investment put into developing a “great” advertisement, in general, its real effect is minimal. Ask any person to think of an outstanding commercial and most will have a hard time thinking of one. Worse, they may remember the ad but not the brand. When asked this question, some of my older friends start telling me about an ad they remember from when they were children many (many) moons ago. And it’s often with a nostalgic smile, of the youth-gone-by variety.
The recent global economic crisis has had a dramatic impact on the industry. As most advertisers know, economic trouble hits advertising companies particularly hard. It is often one of the main items on the list for CEOs to axe. The recent great recession was particularly devastating with revenues declining significantly for agencies big and small. Some are starting to see investment in advertising coming back, but we are a long way from reaching the numbers from before 2008. With economic conditions in the U.S. and the Euro zone flat and little sign of improvement in the horizon there is still no proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Don't let advertisers tell you different, because they will certainly try.
And so, is the advertising industry doomed like printed newspapers and books? I doubt it. Unlike people in those industries, advertisers are the best salespeople around. That’s their job. I mean, these are the folks that convince tens of millions of Italians to drink bottled water when it has been scientifically proven that much of the tap water in the country is just as pure, if not more. And yet many still continue to choose San Benedetto, Borio, Levissima, Lilia and many other well-known brands over just plain, free water. Furthermore, most will try very hard to convince you that there are real health benefits like less sodium or another chemical that I’ve never heard of. When I hear this the first thing that comes to mind is WTF!
Here’s one recent ad that works quite well, I think, simply because of its protagonist. However, the script of the ad has obviously been written by an Italian and translated and so it sounds a little weird.
Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass about this overly commercialized commemoration. But it’s hard not to get sucked into another meaningless count down. So, 14 days and counting for both the hopeless and hapless romantics. It won’t be long before we are all inundated with the millions upon millions of euros in a marketing blitz designed to tell us what constitutes romance and coaxing us to spend even more of our hard earned money on flowers, chocolate, and variety of other gifts that show our loved ones “how much” they mean to us. Clearly, I’m not the most romantic guy in the world. Perhaps I need some help. So, I’m looking for some creative ideas. What are you planning on doing this Valentine’s Day? Gift ideas? Romantic escapades? What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done, seen, heard of?
In the meantime, I found this relatively good quality version of the 2010 American romantic comedy called Valentine’s Day starring Jessica Alba, Julia Roberts and Jessica Biel. No idea if it’s any good. You’re on your own.
If you haven't heard of Slavoj Žižek you're in for a surprise, in many senses of the word. He is a professor of philosophy and psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. This "Animate" version of Žižek's lecture at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA, London) on November 29, 2009 entitled ‘Against Charity’ investigates the surprising ethical implications of charitable giving.