When reading the advertising press recently, it struck me that there’s a constant stream of comment and editorial bemoaning the general state of advertising in this country. The same themes are talked about, a lack of creativity, samey ads, stereotypical caricatures of “real” people and the dumbing down of anything that the masses won’t immediately “get”.
There are comparatively few campaigns that have the ability to stop people in their tracks any more, and I feel that the industry in general has got a whole lot more conservative. We’ve been having problems recently in getting concepts through that the public wouldn’t “get” straight away. But does there have to be an instant understanding of what you see/hear/interact with? Take the Cadbury’s gorilla ad. Imagine telling your Account Handler that a drumming gorilla is the way forward? Most wouldn’t even dream of presenting it to the client. Well done to Cadbury’s by the way. And how about the Orbit campaign? It’s funny and it gets across the message that plaque is invisible and you can’t fight it on your own. But try telling your boss that you’ll definitely need some Flamenco guitar in the background to really set the ad off.
There seems to be a culture that creatives are there to be reined in. And that results in ads that could’ve been good but are a bit, well, blah. Go on, trust us. You won’t be disappointed and you definitely won’t be bored. I mean, just why hasn’t anyone approached Simon Weston with a view to launching his own range of barbecue grills and cooking utensils? I mean, he carried the Commonwealth flame for Manchester for goodness sake. At arm’s length mind, and my, did he deliver that flame quickly.
Anyway, I’ve always wanted to open an exhibition of failed ads, but instead of explaining what the ads are on that wee bit of safmat/foamex/card, I’d give the reason why the Account Handler or client rejected them. My favourite ever reason for a client rejecting an ad concept was, and I quote, “I like the headline and the picture, but I’m not sure people know how to read Latin nowadays.” Anyway, here’s one of the Orbit ads for you to enjoy. Lovely. Alan.