According to this week's Advertising Age and data from ZenithOptimedia, $151.5 billion is spent on advertising in the US. That's more than is spent in Japan, Germany, China, the UK, Brazil, France and Italy combined. It's roughly $25 for every man, woman and child on Earth.
I think about this data because in awards shows, portfolios, "creativity" magazines and the like, I never see ads for real products or services.
I know we are just days from Christmas, so agencies are showing their creative prowess via holiday cards, I guess that's ok. But this week's "Creativity Online" features holiday cards from BBH, New York, Wieden Amsterdam, something called "Lappi Leaks" from Mother in London, Making a Snowflake Yours from TBWA, London and from Wunderman, "The Longest Cracker."
Advertising is a serious business. We are meant to define and propagate brands and to sell products and services. The solipsistic, self-referential trivialization of our business by the awards-industrial complex--more than procurement, more than commoditization, is ruining our business.