It seems to me that there are similarities between people ingesting horse medicine to shield themselves from Covid and the behaviors of many of us in advertising.
My wife's cousin and his wife are both doctors in LA. They've been on the frontlines of fighting the Covid crisis since around March, 2020. Now they're on the frontlines of fighting what I'll call the "Stupidity Crisis."
I'll call it the Stupidity Crisis because, in fact, we no longer have a Covid Crisis. We got that malady under control when, in record time, safe and effective vaccines were developed, tested and distributed.
For the vast majority of people--above 90 percent--if you take the vaccine, you won't get sick. If you get sick, it ain't Covid, it's your embrace of stupidity.
Despite those vaccines, the US is once again averaging about 150,000 cases and 1,300 deaths a day. Virtually all of those cases and deaths are among the unvaccinated. In short, we've figured out how to (for now) lick the disease. But a more virulent ailment, stupidity, still rages. It's stupid not to get vaccinated but people don't want to believe, for whatever reason, that vaccination is safe and effective.
They're denialists. And stupidists.
A similar stupidity epidemic rages in our industry.
When all the nonsense about this or that trend of the day is silenced, the key to advertising that works is telling something important to people in a way that gets their attention.
You can call that anything you want. You can make it as complicated as you wish. You can gussy it up with all the business-school bushwa you can conjure.
Something is either interesting and relevant or it's not. Or as David Ogilvy once said, "You can't bore people into buying your product."
However, as an industry, we don't want to believe advertising can be as simple as being interesting and germane.
So we introduce other pseudo-medicines into the mix. "Make it contextual." "Do it programmatically." "Be digital first."
Those are horse medicines and we have a human problem. And like most human problems, the answer is staring us in the face.
Covid or advertising, take the right medicine.
Not what you want to be the right medicine because of your personal belief system or agenda. But the one that's been field-tested and proven to work.
Life, and death, and advertising don’t have to be so hard. We just make them that way.
BTW, apropos of nothing, this is more relevant than any us will ever admit, to everything I've ever written about "big" advertising.