Friday, April 11, 2008

Koka Kola

Fine article on advertising (a most noble profession) as seen on Mad Men on BBC4 in this months Prospect:
'The impact of the creative revolution can scarcely be overstated... The idea of the advertising creative as an artist took hold. Jokes, puns and puzzles began to tumble from the minds of Madison Avenue, drunk on their liberation from the drudgery of "20 per cent off" coupons and product improvements. In the 1970s and 1980s, with the best work now being done in Britain by the Saatchis, advertising left the product behind altogether—and reached new heights of popularity.

Tobacco, lager, phones and coffee had nothing to do with the appeal of Silk Cut, Carling Black Label, British Telecom and Gold Blend. Yet people bought their products and services just the same.And more than just buying them, we talked about them, quoted them, even tuned in specially to watch them. For those of us who grew up in the 1980s, the era's advertising has become as much a part of our shared identity as the programmes it interrupted. Unhindered by a duty to inform, ads were free to become sponsored works of art.

By 1998... The industry had become wildly pretentious. One shudders to
think what David Ogilvy would have made of Benetton's blood-streaked baby, or
Guinness's bombastic "Surfer" commercial of 1999, voted Britain's favourite ad,
which contrived to use Moby Dick, Leftfield and Lipizzaner stallions to conjure
the experience of waiting to have your pint topped up.

It was at this time that clients also began to notice something rather worrying. Even creatively successful ads, launched at great expense, were often doing nothing for their sales. Or less than nothing. In 2000... Budweiser's "Whassup!"
campaign, created by DDB, won numerous awards and, for a time, changed the way twentysomethings spoke. And yet, during the campaign Budweiser's US sales in barrels dropped 8.3 per cent.

Just as consumers who were once happy to listen to sales pitches became bored of them in the 1960s, so today's young consumer has developed a resistance to almost any message they recognise as advertising.As a result, we are now living in the early years of a new revolution. And this time it is the search for credible media, rather than a credible message, which is important—whether it is in Google searches or in the recommendations of a friend who has unknowingly been targeted by stealth marketers. The Mad Men made us laugh, then they made us wiser. We should thank them for it, and start trying to outwit the next lot.'

Really, though, I just quoted all of that as an excuse to stick up a YouTube clip of possibly the best ad of all time...

Way better than that surfer shite, or the new domino one. I still don't drink the stuff, though.
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