I worry that advertising could turn ugly. Not the business so much, but the product. Sure, much of the industry’s gazillion-dollar output already ain’t pretty, but there’s enough good stuff out there to give the whole advertising industry a social license to operate.
Your average laptop now has so much creative kilowattage that talent, craft and the significance of an idea are being pushed aside by the desire to save time and money. As the music industry knows only too well, the flip side of the new digital meritocracy is that there’s an inordinate amount of noise generated for every solid gold winner. That’s fine for the music business where much of the content is created in the hope of finding an audience, but not for advertising where clients pay us to deliver results. We have a responsibility to be really good at what we do and provide them with wonderful creative work.
From time to time, we’re reminded how good advertising creativity can be at festivals like Cannes, The One Show and D&AD. The recent crop of Grand Prix winners from Cannes are buoyant examples. The Chipotle film created by CAA speaks to this directly, showcasing exquisite craft in thinking, animation and music. Likewise Nike’s Fuelband platform from RGA demonstrates the ability to create genuine utility and legacy from advertising investment. And Jung von Matt’s OOH work involving LED materials and a car-mounted camera to camouflage a Mercedes and demonstrate zero impact on the environment is truly brilliant.
At its best, advertising is beautiful, but in the absence of creativity, it is just pollution. In the words of John Keats: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty—that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”