A few weeks ago, I read an article in Ad Age magazine, about the lack of creativity in advertising. The writer Matt Herrmann, VP-director of strategy at BBDO made some good points. Although, I believe he missed some critical facts in his overview. The comparison of advertising today to yesterday, specifically the sixty’s, considered “the golden age of advertising” is misleading.
Drastically different times
Agencies of the good old days borrowed/remixed plenty. In retrospect we only remember the
great advertising work from that time. The corny work they did is billed and buried never to be seen again. The times were drastically different. The agencies then were smaller and owned by people not
mega, publically traded corporations who by nature want to fast track everything and they become even more conservative as they grow larger.
Remixing borrowing themes
In reference to borrowing themes or remixing ideas of the past, that’s nothing new it’s been done for years in advertising. After all is there anything truly new? When MTV launched the campaign “I want my MTV” years ago that was borrowed from a famous cereal ad campaign. “I want my Maypo” using Mickey Mantle and other celebrities, thirty years earlier.
Blaming the “lack of creativity” on the lack of pride in ownership of the ad makers is a little misguided. In advertising today we are dealing with other issues: These including tighter legal restrictions, in-house agencies, technology “political correctness” and tons of advertising clutter and much more.
.A bit edgy
In summary, I believe there is some good creative being done today. It’s getting buried by all the clutter and equally important clients are scared to death of taking a chance on something just a bit edgy.
Emil Gargano (Ally, Gargano agency) said it best years ago “It takes a good client to do good advertising” that was 50 years ago.
So what’s new!