Skip to main content

Why waste good ideas on advertising?

(Bringing down the focus from the earlier thought process.)

(Addressed to advertising guys)

Bee Orchid - XKCD
I. Agent to parasites


Orchids fool bees into carrying their pollen by making the bee think that it is getting laid.
Advertising works in a somewhat similar fashion.
The difference is; instead of genes, it is in the business of propagating memes*.

Advertisers needs agencies because, intrinsically, most commercial memes are not interesting enough. Deep down in our hearts and colons, we don't care about soaps and cars. we care about love and health and sex and our sense of self and so on. (just read Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions. hence the hangover of 'and so on'.)
So the parasitic commercial memes piggy back on emotional/ funny memes we really care about. Agencies in that sense are the piggie-safari-wallahs. Agencies help the fat advertiser climb onto the pig of ideas. (pig of ideas.. that doesn't make any sense. anyways.)

 II. Advertising business is simply not as rewarding as it was before.

If you look at an idea objectively beyond the context of its birth, it looks much grander.
Think of the last idea you had for a client's campaign. and now think a logical conclusion to that idea divorced from the brand. Put that idea onto another stage/ context/ medium - see how it expands. if it is a good idea, it will always fill up the volume of your imagination - more than any brand can do justice to the idea.

Before internet, people only had advertising as profession where ideas could find a definite shape and reach millions. Your idea piggy backed on client's money. and client's commercial meme piggy backed on your emotional/ funny/ useful idea. 'Symbiotic'.

But now we have the internet and much more.  Ideas can translate to bigger things if you let them run free. the digital world has brought down the cost of realising ideas drastically. It has given us the tools to translate and mutate ideas in infinite ways.
Then why straitjacket your ideas for the sake of commercial messages?
Advertising serves only as a business solution.
Advertising shouldn't be romanticised any more as business of ideas. It is, what it essentially always was, a business of persuasion. You might tell a 'story' to persuade or go 'native' or 'mine insights'. all advertising is doing is to adapt to the new reality to propagate commercial memes.
So unless you profit from it handsomely, why waste your good ideas on it? 
Earlier, brands would pay shitloads for an idea. a clean 15%. Now they have turned an idea into commodity - stripped to hours, execution costs, bargains. Artists (or closet artists) can do better. There are enough businessmen who can run this show. Leave it to them.

Any good idea that a planner/ creative can think of for a brand can always find a bigger expression in the digital playground now. 

A creative/ planner (a closet creative person) can now put his ideas into movies, songs, comics, business, apps, installations and so on. He can do all that by himself. for himself. and yet make money out of it.

Be honest. you didn't come into advertising because you loved brands. you came because you thought you are an artist. But you are scared to actually be one. Look around you. The only ones who are left are the ones who are too old or too young or the ones who are too afraid. everyone else has taken their flight to the land of trying.

What's an advertising guy without his/her side project? //nudge//nudge//

III. Nostalgia
The orchid's partner bee went extinct. and yet the orchid carries on the pretence as if with a nostalgic tumour.

Advertising industry, as it stands today, seems to be in a similar situation. You, under-paid friend of mine, do not need nostalgia of others.

*meme - info copied from person to person

Comments

neeraj sharma said…
Brilliantly and honestly written. But like all other things every business has a hope. If you make advertising an art, you dont need to go somewhere to be an artist but it's still a theoretical concept.
Ajinkya said…
Thank you. :)
well, advertising is as creative as business gets. so there's that.

Popular posts from this blog

I am a salmon

I am a salmon. It's been a decade away from my hometown, and yet my dreams refuse to relocate along with me. When sleep hasn't claimed me yet, but neither am I awake, you may find me in Nasik.
My senses fall back into their default states of Nasik when in-between. The space is of my home in Nasik, the sight is of the things around it. I might be hungry and thinking of eating a laddoo and my hands reach out for the steel dabba stacked on an elevated wooden cupboard stuck on the left wall of kitchen. In my mind's eye, I grope for the dabba momentarily as the search yields nothing - poof. the image disintegrates. I am snapped back to reality with a mild jolt. My mind reminds me of the layout in my own kitchen. There is no airborne shelf, there is no steel container, there is no laddoo. It says, go back to sleep. and I do.

_____

I shifted 3.5k km for a less polluted and less dangerous city a year ago.
And all was good. I get to walk and how I love to walk. I am truly happi…

Exercises for a smarter nation

We, the people, are gullible idiots. C'mon, admit it. We have all been bullied into bad deals by powerful charlatans at some point or another. Governments are no different. The current one is getting away with our personal data and going about distributing our public resources and monies to its favourite cronies.This is no exceptional government. This happens all the time, in all the countries - to varying degrees. The varying part is important. I would much rather be in Norway where the leeway for such giveaways against the interest of public is small, compared to Angola and Nigeria where the oil bonanza instead has become oil curse.

One of the important ways for moving towards Norway and away from Nigeria is for the public to become aware and educated about power. Education is a bad word now - what India creates in not educated people, it creates literate minions. By educated, i mean people who can reason, who can think critically, who can see the world from different perspecti…

Withdrawal symptoms

Ctrl-tab
Ctrl-tab...
Scroll Scroll Scoll..
Alt-tab
Alt-tab...
Catch yourself slipping away.

Deep  breath. 

Close the browser. silence the mobile and turn it away.

Open an offline-real-paper diary. Stop your thighs from lolling impatiently. Stay still. 

Pick up a pen awkwardly. ahh, the fingers are stiff. It will take a  while for them to get used to holding a pen. Quick finger exercise - open the palm, stretch finger outwards, close into a fist, dig the fingers in. Repeat.
Ok now.. about to pick up the pen again, but eyes dart towards the screen. Tempted to check email.

Shut up. The last consequential email came two months ago. Nothing of consequence is online.

Pick up the pen. Don't fetishize the object now. Get on with it. Put it on paper, write a word and start it already. If I get to a sentence, perhaps I will get into a flow and won't have to look up from the paper at all. 

One sentence later.

Ahh. That was good. I am feeling good about myself. The sentence makes sense. …