Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Decline and Fall of Advertising. A Lesson in 90 Seconds.

Late last week I went back and forth over email with a friend of mine. Like me, he is a writer with some laps around the track. Unlike me, he has a giant reputation and list of awards as long as one of Donald Trump's ties.

I sent him this spot, which I love. 

My friend didn't think it could work today. Too slow. Too demanding on the viewer (attention.) Too honest and logical.

In my naivete, I can't see, or don't want to admit that the spot couldn't be successful today.

Honesty, intelligence, straight-talk. All the qualities most of the world disparages.

I was born old. And old-fashioned values have always made sense to me.

Call me a dinosaur, that's ok. Dinosaurs lasted on our planet almost 200 million years, humans just 200,000.  Who's to say they were the foolish ones?

In response, my friend sent me this spot.

Same basic technique. But with no balls, no honesty. No understanding of people or expressions of empathy.

And cliche followed by cliche like telemarketing phone call follows telemarketing phone call.

I refuse to give up on the notion that we can do intelligent, thoughtful work that will move and motivate people. Until my very end, I will continue to believe (and fight for) the plain and simple notion that the consumer isn't a moron, that people will read what interests them and sometimes that's an ad, and that care and craft and warmth and wit and laughter are universal values even in our dark, uneducated Trumpian era.

But maybe I'm just stupid, naive, Sisyphean. 

And like I said, a dinosaur.

But at least I have a brain large enough to fight against crap. And the crapification of our standards, our work and our livelihoods.

When we all go down because we've lost faith in ourselves and by application in humanity itself, at least I'll go down swinging.

What more can we do?

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