Advertising seems to be getting a little too complicated these days.
by Woody Hinkle
My favorite quote in the movie “Art & Copy” is from George Lois. He’s talking about getting excited about what we do.
“Wow, look at that pen. Yeah, it’s a little this. It does this. Wow, that sounds interesting. Let me sell that motherfucker.”
Hold that thought.
After a recent LinkedIn exchange about Jerry Della Femina’s classic “From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor,” I went back and re-read my copy. (I read half of it during those long waits while having a stress test, which gives you an idea of both how long and boring a stress test is and how old I am.)
Advertising looked like so much more fun then. Not just because of the mythical fooling around and drinking and craziness that may or may not all be true, but also because what they did then was, for the most part, use creativity to sell their clients’ products or services.
You know, “Let me sell that motherfucker.”
Fast-forward to today and the mixed-blessing that All Things Digital have brought us and we’re busy with analytics and clicks and complex tracking links and such. Creativity in advertising hasn’t exactly taken a back seat, but it’s not always riding shotgun, that’s for sure.
Too often, I think, creativity in this digital age comes mostly in the form of what whistles and whirly-birds you can deploy in your leaderboard, cube, takeover or expandable. This is technical wizardry that doesn’t have a lot to do with concept, writing or art direction. (Unless you are big enough with a client well-heeled enough to be doing television, of course.)
The propeller-heads (if you will forgive a pejorative use of the term here – and even if you won’t) who created and manage the various media channels and platforms we use, don’t all have backgrounds in the creative arts and many don’t really understand the role of creativity in advertising, I don’t think. And they have limited us to very small spaces in which we’re as worried about k-weights as we are about concept.
Maybe I’m just not too bright, but it seems like we’ve over-complicated the thing. Something has been lost. Not just much of The Joy Of Advertising As Many Of Us Knew It, but also the use of creativity to excite people about our clients’ businesses. It’s getting nudged aside in favor of the pursuit of analytics. The goal is often to talk to an algorithm rather than people.
Analytics are important. So are tracking links and k-weights. But I hope we don’t lose sight of what an awesome tool creative advertising can be. That is, if you think that the job is creating desire.
Which I do. I’m in favor of generating lust, not likes.
Let me sell that motherfucker.