Friday, April 22, 2011


There are very few people who would take exception to the claim that advertising today--regardless of where it appears--is a visual medium. As a profession, and larger as a society, we have convinced ourselves of certain ideas and we seem to accept those ideas blindly and without question.

It's not unusual to view a top-director's reel and hear and see not a word, except for maybe a tagline (or punch line) during the last four seconds. Likewise, you can pick up virtually any awards annual and go through the print section and see, in the entire offering of print ads, fewer words than I have written here. Of course the same verbal parsimony applies to online communications as well.

When you question it, when you show work with words, you are dismissed. It's a visual medium you dolt! Often, when work is shown internally, for internal discussion, it's disregarded if it doesn't fit our pre-conceived notion of what it should look like.

Well, what if the idea that modern communications are visually-driven is all wrong? After all, we are told "no one watches, listens to, believes, cares about or is influenced by advertising any more." Maybe for communications to be effective--to communicate, that is, they need more than just a gorgeous picture or a visual pun.

Let's think about the brain for a second. Undoubtedly it is moved by pictures and images. Just look at Guernica or a swastika and you'll feel it. But there is more to a proper communication than just a feeling. And this is what has been lost in modern advertising.

There is thinking.

Decisions, except for those made on impulse, usually involve a lively interaction, an argument even, among the heart and the head. Feeling and thinking. You might look at an apartment this weekend and fall in love with it. You want it, that's your immediate reaction. But then you realize it has just one bedroom. It's located next to a bordello and the mice have roaches.

Heart and head.

They're both involved in decision-making, in influencing, in advertising.

No comments: